By Shawn Roney
The Examiner Often this season, Blue Springs South volleyball coach Dave MacLean has watched his Jaguars be on the verge of winning games or matches – and then has watched them squander them.
On Saturday afternoon, he watched them be on the verge of defeating Jefferson City – and then watched them finish the job.
The Jaguars had a 24-23 lead in Game 3 of the Blue Springs South Invitational consolation final and were rallying with Jefferson City when the Jays attempted a kill. Jenna Rau and Camryn Gregston set up a wall block, forcing the ball back over to Jefferson City’s side of the net. Jefferson City’s attempt to return the ball went out of play, giving South the game and match point in a 25-15, 20-25, 25-23 victory at Moreland Ridge Middle School.
“It was really nerve-wracking (setting up the block) at first,” Rau said. “But I knew that, with my team behind my back, if I could just push over, my team would pick up anything else. And it (the block) just came through for all of us.”
South (10-9) had to come from behind to win the match. During the final game, the Jaguars trailed 12-5 before chipping away to hold a series of one- and two-point leads. They also had to fight through seven late ties.
“They just kind of worked through a lot of garbage,” MacLean said.
Rau attributed the comeback to South’s energy.
“I’m just proud of our team – how we came back,” she said.
The win avenged a loss to Jefferson City earlier in the day and was the last of four match victories. The Jaguars lost to the Jays and Springfield Kickapoo in pool play before defeating Nerinx Hall to conclude the opening round. They then defeated St. Louis Incarnate Word in the consolation quarterfinals and Cor Jesu in the semis to set up the rematch with the Jays.
“I would’ve liked to have executed better this morning, and I’m disappointed in that,” MacLean said. “But to come back and to right the wrong, to turn that ship around and finish the day, when everybody’s tired, (with a win) it shows that we’re going to forget the past.”
South was among three area schools in the tournament. Blue Springs (5-11) went 1-2 in pool play, losing to St. Teresa’s Academy, defeating Cor Jesu and losing to Francis Howell. Nixa then swept the Wildcats in the consolation quarterfinals.
Lee’s Summit North (6-10) also went 1-2 in pool play, losing to St. James and Villa Duchesne before defeating Nixa. Cor Jesu then swept the Broncos in the consolation quarterfinals.
Page 2 of 2 - St. James Academy of Lenexa, Kan., the second-ranked team in the nation in the prepvolleyball.com poll, defeated Francis Howell of St. Charles, Mo., in two games in the championship bracket final. St. James defeated Lee’s Summit West in two games in the semifinals.