Saints rule mid-sized schools by topping AOSR
Stars and Stripes October 29, 2022
RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany - The Aviano Saints capped a perfect season against Division II competition Saturday by defeating American Overseas School of Rome yet again.
The two teams compete in the regular season in Italy and also met Friday to determine the winner of Pool A in the second day of the season-ending tournament. But if the Falcons were hoping for some final revenge, they didn’t get it Saturday as the Saints prevailed 25-18, 25-22, 22-25, 25-17.
The smaller Falcons struggled early on trying to stop a constant storm of hard serves from the Saints. Things were looking up as they fought their way back into the second set. But the striking power of Aviano’s Sophia Fisher and Elaina Holsclaw were able to wrestle back the lead and ultimately the set.
AOSR wasn’t ready to give in, though, scoring the final points of a tight third set to try to claw back into the match.
With a newfound sense of urgency to close out the match, the Saints used their height advantage again to take control of the fourth set. Aviano’s Kayla Graney seemed like a brick wall on defense as she helped her team close out the Falcons.
“We worked as a unit and as a family,” Aviano junior Mayci Salmon said. “We were able to come back from not playing our best.”
Aviano’s only loss of the season came from a split earlier this month with Ansbach, which won the Division III title earlier in the day. That split also gave the Cougars their only loss of the year.
The Saints finished second to Vicenza in last year’s season-ending tournament held in Italy due to coronavirus protocols.
AOSR’s Cristina Nespoli was named the tournament most valuable player and teammate Clara Clayton joined her on the all-tournament team along with Aviano’s Sophia Fisher, Emma Kasparek and Aiyana Godfrey of Naples, Black Forest Academy’s Katie Stemple, Vicenza’s Shalom DeJardin and Bahrain’s Isabella Garza.