By Chris Geinosky

Special to The Examiner

The Blue Springs volleyball team's strong late-season push came to end in the first round of the state playoffs.

The Wildcats came up short against final-four bound Park Hill South, 25-12, 25-19, in a Class 4 sectional match Saturday at Liberty High School's Cokely Fieldhouse.

“Sometimes if you push the rally long enough or make enough good things happen on your side, you can wait for the other team to make an error, but that's not going to happen with Park Hill South,” Blue Springs coach Katie Grusing said. “They've got so many seniors and all that experience. They're hard to handle.”

Park Hill South proved that from the start by completely dominating the opening set. Blue Springs led early in the second set, but once the Panthers tied the score at 13, they closed out the match by winning 12 of the next 18 points.

Park Hill South (35-2-1) went on to defeat Lee's Summit West (28-8-1) in the state quarterfinal match. Still, Blue Springs (14-18) had plenty of reasons to be excited after coming on strong late in the season and capturing the program's second straight district title with a young roster.

“It was huge for our kids,” Grusing said. “It wasn't until the last week of the regular season that we felt like we got good, consistent play out of our kids, and most of that was youth. You have to credit our seniors for being the calming force and being able to go out on a high note.”

CLASS 3 SECTIONAL: The greatest volleyball season in Grain Valley High School history ended a win short of the state quarterfinals.

Kansas City St. Pius X outlasted the Eagles 25-23, 21-25, 25-23 in the Class 3 sectional Saturday at Savannah High School.

The Eagles, who claimed a third consecutive district championship and tied for the Missouri River Valley Conference West title, finished 24-8-1, the best record in school history.

Jordan Morrison had 13 kills and Devan Fairfield 12 kills, and Tori Squiers, Chandler Huttinger and Abby Winter added 24, 18 and 17 assists, respectively, to lead the Eagles against the Warriors.

“It was our best match of the season,” Grain Valley coach Keri Peterson said of the loss. “We left everything out there. We came up a few points less than St. Pius. We played really hard. Our serve receive was awesome.“