On Oct. 12 at home for Senior Night, the varsity Lady ‘Jackets defeated the West Plains Zizzers in a hard-fought five sets.
The ‘Jackets fell 19-25 in the first set before winning the second and third sets, 25-17 and 30-28, and lost the fourth set, 18-25.
In the fifth and tiebreaking set, the ‘Jackets dug deep in the character well and won 19-17.
Before the match, the ‘Jacket seniors — Addy Collins, Sadie Douglas, Ella Goforth, Ciaria Keeney and Raylee Quick — were recognized.
“It was a special night for our seniors playing their last match in Boswell Gym. The kids in our program as well as the junior class parents and former player Ellee Douglas did an excellent job in making this year's senior group feel very special. All of these kids have left an impact on their teammates and the program.,” coach Jenny Collins said.
Both teams had the same record of 18-11-1 going into the final match of the regular season, which made for a competitive matchup.
“We both play some very good defense and it was a night full of long rallies with great defensive plays being made by both teams,” Collins said.
Early errors made the first set a struggle.
“In the first set, we worked so hard defensively to give ourselves opportunity, but committed 10 hitting errors with only 9 kills, basically cancelling out any of our efforts,” Collins said.
She pointed this out to her players in the huddle before the second set.
“I said that we have to do better. ‘We have to do a better job of keeping the ball in front of us, getting our feet to the ball as it's really just a lack of focus,’” Collins said.
Her ‘Jackets responded, making the changes needed the next four sets.
“Our hitters responded incredibly, made the changes needed as in the four remaining sets of the night with the third set going 30-28. We only committed a total of 17 hitting errors, which allowed us to stay in the match. Senior Ciaria Keeney turned it on, earning 15 kills with junior Rilee Jackson coming on strong, especially late in the match earning 10 and Junior Kaidynce Buttram snagging 10 of her own.” Collins said.
Defensive efforts were led by Saylor Helton with 32 digs followed by Addy Collins with 28, Morgan Durbin, 22, and Sadie Douglas, 16.
The match point of the fifth set was finally won at 17-15 off of an ace serve by senior Addy Collins.
“Last night tested us big as that match was not given to us in any way. We had to earn the win, and I'm very proud of our kids in the way that they continued to battle, showing grit and determination while defending our home court. That determination will benefit us moving on into district play,” Collins said.
The first round of districts is Saturday, Oct. 21, at Waynesville with the ‘Jackets taking on Nixa at 5:30 p.m.
Both the JV and Freshman teams fell in two sets.
Here are some stats from the match:
Regular Season Record 19-11-1, Conference Record 7-3
Aces: Saylor Helton, 3; and Addy Collins, 2
Kills: Ciaria Keeney, 15; Rilee Jackson, 10; and Kaidynce Buttram,10
Assists: Morgan Durbin, 40
Kills Blocks: Raylee Quick, Ciaria Keeney, Kaidynce Buttram, Rilee Jackson all had 1.
Digs: Saylor Helton, 32; Addy Collins, 28; Morgan Durbin, 22; and Sadie Douglas, 16