In Ohio's hotbed of volleyball, arguably Greater Cincinnati's best team ever was the unbeaten St. Ursula team of 2003.
Julie Perry, a LaRosa's Hall of Fame coach, guided this team through a perfect 29-0 season and a national championship. In fact, her team was rated No. 1 in the nation the entire year and never wavered from that spot.
This team featured another LaRosa's Hall of Famer in Bryn Kehoe, who was one of four seniors who went on to play collegiately. Kehoe went on to Stanford, while Beth Shelton played for Virginia, Beth Gillming starred at Maryland and Erin Schroeder played at Dayton.
Perry knew she had the makings of a special team right from the start. In fact, as she is quick to point out – she knew this was a team of destiny because of the last game of the previous season.
"When we lost to Ursuline Academy in the fifth game of the 2002 state championship by two points, that was the moment that proved to be the motivating factor," Perry says. "I could tell they were going to be strong from the first day … The team made our coaches work harder than ever – each of us pushing each other to leave it all on the court."
St. Ursula’s drive to the title was relentless throughout the season and was probably best demonstrated in the Ohio Division I state title game when they again met rival Ursuline Academy. The Lions delivered a crushing result with a 15-10, 15-7 victory.
"It has been an honor to coach every one of my student athletes over the years whether we won state or ended the season in the earlier tournament round," Perry said. "It is all about the journey and what a journey the 2003 team, the coaches, the players' families and our school community had."
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