Kennedy roundup: Volleyball, football teams finish season unbeaten
The Kennedy volleyball and football teams made the most of their final days of competition in the culminating week of the shortened fall sports season, wrapping things up with matching unbeaten records.
The Trojans volleyball team concluded a historic season, beating Salem Academy 3-1 (25-23, 25-22, 18-25, 25-18) in the Tri-River Conference championship to mark the first undefeated season in program history.
Kennedy (16-0, 8-0 TRC) won three consecutive games last week in the conference playoffs, opening with a 3-0 win (25-7, 25-15, 25-7) against Colton on April 5, followed by another sweep (25-17, 25-16, 28-26) against Western Christian on April 6 to set up the league title game against Salem Academy.
The Crusaders (9-3, 7-2) have been the lone team to pose a challenge to the Trojans' unbeaten run this season. The two programs played to five sets in the second game of the season on March 5. And while Kennedy swept the follow-up game on March 17, all three sets were decided by between two and seven points.
The rubber match on April 7 saw the Trojans eke out a pair of close wins in the first two sets before Salem Academy claimed the third, breaking Kennedy's 41-set winning streak dating back to the March 5 game.
Following the contest, Kennedy senior Hailey Arritola was awarded Conference Player of the Year. Teammates Ellie Cantu, Emma Beyer and Elise Suing joined Arritola on the all-league First Team. Kelsey Kleinschmit added Second Team honors, and Lydia Berning was named to the Third Team.
The last two contests between the Kennedy and Monroe football teams have gone down to the wire. The Trojans made sure that would not be the case on Friday, running away with a 47-14 victory in a game between two of the top 2A teams in the state to finish the 2020-21 season.
The two programs last saw each other in the 2019 2A semifinals, with Kennedy pulling out a 15-12 win to advance to their second consecutive state championship game. Two years earlier, the Dragons bested the Trojans 41-35 in the 2017 quarterfinals. This time Kennedy left no doubt, knocking off the unbeaten Monroe football team by building a 47-0 lead through the first three quarters.
The Trojans scored 34 points alone in the second quarter, with Brady Traeger scoring consecutive touchdowns bracketed by a pair of touchdown passes from Riley Cantu to David Reyes. Cantu added a scoring pass to Luke Beyer in the closing seconds of the quarter to give Kennedy a 40-0 edge heading into halftime.
Traeger finished the game with three scores after punching in the opening touchdown of the game, and Cole Boen added a third-quarter touchdown to round out the scoring.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.