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St. Joseph High’s boys volleyball team saw its season come to an end in a 3-0 (26-24, 25-22, 25-15) loss to visiting Masuk of Monroe in the Class M state tournament first round on Monday.

The ninth-seeded Panthers advanced to face No. 1 Newington in the quarterfinals. No. 8 St. Joes, which went 9-8 this spring, will have to look ahead to next year.

The Cadets received 12 assists and 12 kills, along with a service ace, from Eric Lewicki, and nine kills and a dozen assists from Marc Mrozek.

“Hats off to them. They picked up their game,” St. Joe’s head coach Martin Dempsey said of the Panthers, who overcame a slow start and an 18-12 deficit in the opening game. “We had some opportunities to close out that first game.”

Momentum swings are the nature of the game, however, the coach noted. “It’s a game of momentum and it changes quickly,” he said. “We were in the match, we had our chances.

“We were hoping to do more this year — these guys wanted to do a lot more. They were ambitious, worked hard all season. I couldn’t ask for anything more than what they gave.”

The Cadets graduate four seniors, but with many up and coming players expected back with a little more experience, things are looking up for the program.

“That certainly bodes well for the future,” Dempsey said.