SEDALIA, Mo. - For the Helias volleyball team, the hardest part about Tuesday's district championship match was getting there.
The Lady Crusaders overcame a slow start to win their district semifinal with Lebanon in three games, then beat Camdenton in two straight games to take the Class 4 District 10 Tournament.
"Like I told the girls and some of the parents after it was over, we can't do anything easy, so why start now?" Helias coach David Harris said. "We haven't done it all year."
Helias had to rally for a 20-25, 25-17, 25-12 win over Lebanon, and once they built the momentum, it carried over to a 25-22, 25-19 win over Camdenton.
Helias started fast in the championship match, jumping out to a 5-0 lead and eventually building their edge to 17-6.
The game appeared to be over when the lead hit 20-10.
"We got up and I thought, OK, we've settled down," Harris said. "Then we completely fell apart again ... and Camdenton did pick it up then."
The top-seeded Lady Lakers kept coming at the secondseeded Lady Crusaders and eventually cut the lead to 23-21 and 24-22. But after each of those times, Helias' Katie Sauer had kills, on her way to a teamhigh seven for the match.
"When Camdenton got close, I told the girls in a timeout that we'd gotten away from hitting line," Harris said. "When we hit line, we got point after point after point, then we started trying to hit angle.
"So out of the timeout, Katie hit two down the line, got two points and it was over."
The second game featured 10 ties, the last coming at 19. But after that, Sauer had three kills as Helias scored the final six points.
Krista Haslag chipped in five kills and three blocks for the winners, while Holly Ortmeyer had nine assists and nine service points. Sidney Lammers added eight assists and Lauren Eggen had nine digs.
In the semifinal victory over Lebanon, Harris said the Lady Crusaders drew upon some experience they've picked up as the season has gone on.
"I don't know how many three-game matches we've played this year ... but only lost one," he said. "So you just tell them, "We've been in this place before. We know we can do it.'"
Lisa Bruns led a balanced Helias attack in the victory, as she racked up eight kills. Sauer added seven and Haslag had six to go along with her six blocks. Also for Helias, Eggen had 13 digs, Ortmeyer had 12 assists and Lammers had eight service points and 11 assists. Tuesday's victories moved Helias to 30-4-1 on the season, the first time the Lady Crusaders have had back-to-back 30-win seasons.
"I'm extremely proud of this group," Harris said. "I don't think too many poeple outside our little group - players, coaching staff and parents - thought we could (win districts) this this year. We graduated nine players, two of them All-American players, and I don't think too many people gave us too much of a chance."
The Lady Crusaders now advance to Saturday's sectional/quarterfinal round at Hannibal. Helias will play the District 11 winner in a 4:30 p.m. sectional, with the winner taking on either Hannibal or the District 12 winner in the quarterfinals at 6 p.m.