St. Edmond's goal of winning its own annual volleyball invitational never quite materialized Saturday.
Despite advancing all the way to the title round in their first outing of the season, the Gaels (3-2 overall) fell to Aplington-Parkersburg in the finals by scores of 25-16 and 25-11.
"We put ourselves into position to win the tournament, but we just came up a little short in the end," SEHS head coach John Johnson said. "Aplington-Parkersburg is always right around .500 record-wise, but they play some really good teams over on their side of the state. I thought (the Falcons) just played more consistent (yesterday) and had a little better ball control than we did."
The Gaels advanced to the championship match with victories over Southeast Webster-Grand (21-14, 21-12), Prairie Valley (18-21, 21-19 and 18-15) and Bishop Garrigan (25-20 and 25-9). St. Edmond's only other setback came in its opener against eventual unbeaten champion A-P (21-6, 21-15).
"Our match against Garrigan was phenomenal," Johnson said. "I thought we passed and hit well and served the ball very aggressively. That was the one match on the day where we really showed what we're capable of. Facing a conference foe, it was nice to see us play our best."
Alli Huss, a junior, paced the green and white with 15 kills and six aces. Classmate Paige Savery went 38-for-40 serving with 36 digs and seven aces.
Annie Kersten (19 digs), Hannah Lentsch (16 kills), Claire Crimmins (12 kills) and Molly Doster (40 assists) were the other leading Gael performers.
Garrigan, which captured top honors at the 2010 and 2011 Gael Invitationals, settled for a 2-3 mark with triumphs over Southeast Webster-Grand (21-17 and 21-9) and Van Meter (14-25, 25-6, 16-14). Aside from their loss to St. Edmond, the Golden Bears were also downed by Prairie Valley (17-21, 21-12 and 15-7) and Aplington-Parkersburg (21-18 and 21-11).
Amelia Golwitzer collected 22 digs for Garrigan, while Aubrie Meyers and Chelsi Lanus both added 19.
Prairie Valley finished 3-2, while Southeast Webster-Grand was 0-5.
Johnson was encouraged by how the tournament played out, which gave his squad plenty of experience on their own court.
"I thought we got better and better as the day went on," said Johnson. "Hopefully, we have all the jitters out of the way now."
Next action for the Gaels is Tuesday at the Storm Lake Triangular. Start time is set for 5 p.m.