RICH HILL — For the second time this season, the Calvary Lutheran Lady Lions are going back to Cape Girardeau.
Calvary Lutheran started Saturday's action with a 25-22, 25-19 win against the Greenfield Lady Wildcats in the Class 1 sectionals, then rallied for a 19-25, 25-23, 25-14 quarterfinal win against the Sedalia Sacred Heart Lady Gremlins.
For the second straight season, the Lady Lions (23-6-3) will return to the Class 1 Final Four, which will take place Friday and Saturday at the Show Me Center in Cape Girardeau.
"They're proving that it wasn't just chance that they made it to state last year," Calvary Lutheran coach Kandace Cook said. "They still have the strength to do it again, and that's what they've done."
Sacred Heart opened sectional play with a 25-20, 25-16 win against the Rich Hill Lady Tigers. Calvary Lutheran followed with its 22nd straight-set victory of the season.
"We had a rough first game against Greenfield, we didn't play our best game," Cook said. "We went to the locker room afterwards and we knew we had to reset to really play Sacred Heart."
The Lady Lions dropped the opening set against the Lady Gremlins, and the stats didn't back up Calvary Lutheran in that department. The Lady Lions were 0-5-1 this season when they lost the first set.
"After that first set that we lost, the girls could have given up," Cook said. "They didn't. They came back and they fought hard to win the next two sets."
Calvary Lutheran answered with its first three-set win of the season, narrowly taking the second set against Sacred Heart and carrying that momentum into the third set.
"I'm really big about saying, 'I need somebody to give me 110 percent,'" Cook said. "I wanted to hear the girls tell me that they wanted it, that they wanted to fight for it."
Jaelyn Engelbrecht led Calvary Lutheran with nine kills and three blocks against Greenfield, while Julia Kollmeyer had 18 assists. Sarah Johnson and Maddi Layson finished with 13 and eight digs, respectively.
Abi Lagore had seven kills, followed by Johnson with six and Elizabeth Lieb with four.
In the quarterfinals against Sacred Heart, Johnson and Engelbrecht each recorded a double-double in the win. Johnson finished with 12 kills and 24 digs, while Engelbrecht had 11 kills and 12 digs.
Kollmeyer finished with 22 assists, Lagore had six kills and four aces and Lieb added four kills. Layson and Jordyn Mays tallied nine and seven digs, respectively.
The Lady Lions played at Cape Girardeau earlier this season in the Dig for Life Tournament.
"We didn't do our best at Cape this year," Cook said. "We played some teams that challenged us."
Calvary Lutheran will be joined by Billings (22-5-2), Santa Fe (33-1-3) and defending state champion Advance (34-2) in the Class 1 Final Four. The Lady Lions will play all three teams Friday in pool play.
Calvary Lutheran lost 12-25, 22-25 to Advance in the state championship match last season.
"I'm so excited," said Cook, who is in her first season coaching the Lady Lions. "I'm just happy that I was able to help take them there. They're such a great group of kids."
The Class 1 third-place match is at noon Saturday, followed by the title match at 1:30 p.m.