A Starr was born Tuesday night at Blue Springs High School, and an underdog squad overcame a slow start to claim an upset win.
That sums up the semifinal night of the Class 4 District 14 volleyball tournament as Alicia Starr's 19 kills led Blue Springs to a 25-27, 25-15, 20-15 victory over No. 1 seed Truman.
Lee's Summit North then overcame a 15-3 deficit in the first set to claim a 25-23, 14-25, 25-16 win over a second-seeded Blue Springs South squad that handed them a conference defeat last week at South.
The Wildcats will take a 13-17 record into tonight's 6:30 championship contest against the 14-15-1 Broncos at Blue Springs.
While there were many stars for the Wildcats, none shone brighter than the sophomore Starr as she had 10 kills – including the game winner – in the decisive third game to end the Patriots’ season with a 22-10-2 record.
“Truman is such a good team, we had to play our best volleyball to beat them,” Starr said. “This is one of the most special nights I've ever had as a member of the volleyball team because we were all playing for our seniors.
“None of us want our season to end, especially our seniors.”
A senior who also starred for the Wildcats was setter Erin Bodernstab. She led the Wildcats with 32 assists.
Alexis Williams paced Blue Springs with five blocks, and Kate Tucker had 18 digs.
“Obviously Alicia had an outstanding night,” Wildcats coach Katie Grusing said. “But I can point out something special that every girl who stepped out on the court did tonight.
“Even though we lost a tough first game, I knew we could come back and compete with Truman. (Truman coach) Denise (Craig) does a great job with her girls, and it was a just a tremendous match.”
Sophomore Lexi Hart led the Patriots with 13 kills and five aces.
“I'm disappointed we lost because we all wanted to keep playing for our seniors,” Hart said as she wiped away a tear. “But we gave it all we had. We just didn't think the season would end tonight.
“When we won the first set, we all thought we would win the second set, too. We played as hard as we could, and so did Blue Springs.”
The fiery Craig sat with Truman parents and friends and said despite the outcome, it was a night to remember.
“Everyone here tonight saw some great volleyball,” Craig said. “I couldn't be any happier with my girls. They gave it all they had, and that's all a coach can ask for. I know Katie feels the same way about her girls. Someone had to walk out of here with a loss, and unfortunately, it was our team.”
When coach Rhea Moses' North squad trailed 15-3 in the first set of their match against South, she didn't panic. More importantly, neither did her Broncos.
“We were down, but we knew we could come back,” said sophomore Anna Demmer, who had seven kills for North. “I have so much trust in my teammates. We came back to win that first set, then we lost the second.
“But we didn't panic again. We came out stronger than ever in the third set and found a way to win. This is one of the most special wins I've ever been a part of.”
The Broncos chipped away at the South lead in the first set, going on a 15-4 run to cut the deficit to 18-19. Sarah Demmer, Anna's older sister, had two late kills and Anna had a block and a kill to set the stage for the big win.
“Blue Springs South is a very good team,” Moses said, 'but our girls weren't intimidated, even when we were down 15-3 in that first set. It was just a great night – and a long night of volleyball – all the way around.
“I'm so proud of our girls. Every girl contributed to this win and allowed us to get to tomorrow's championship.”
Mia Swanegan led the Jaguars with 13 kills.