Coach David Gardner’s Truman High School squad continues to play its best volleyball in the biggest matches.
The Patriots needed just over a half hour Monday night to top Raytown 25-13, 25-18 in the opening round of the Class 4 District 14 Tournament at Lee’s Summit North High School.
The reward the 15-12-2 Patriots receive for their big victory?
Today at 5 p.m. they take on No. 1 seed St. Teresa’s (21-6-1).
“We know St. Teresa’s is a great team, and we respect them, but we don’t fear them,” said Truman junior outside hitter Tapanga Johnson, who led the Patriots with 11 kills against Raytown. She had nine kills in the second set to set the tone for Truman on the front line.
“We’re so young, and we have a new coach and it took us a while to really play as a team and play without thinking what was going on out on the court,” Johnson added. “But now, we’re playing our best volleyball and we’re excited about playing the top team in district.”
There were few holes on the Truman side of the net Monday night as the Patriots used communication and excellent passing to advance to the district semifinal.
“We’re really playing well as a team and that’s because we’re used to playing with each other and know what to expect from each other,” said junior setter Allissa Kridner, who led Truman with 25 assists. “I just moved here from Kansas and know that Truman had a great volleyball team the past few years and it’s been exciting for me to be a part of this team and watch us improve from the start of the season to where we are now.”
Truman dominated front row play and covered the court like a tarp.
“I thought the girls did a nice job tonight,” Gardner said. “They’re getting more and more accustomed to the way I want them to play and they did a nice job communicating with each other tonight.
“We have a lot of young players on the team (just three seniors) and they’re going to be together for a while, so while we’re focusing on this season and district the future looks good for the program.”
Junior libero Kasia Penyock led the Patriots with 16 digs.
Raytown finished 11-13-3.
Lee’s Summit North dominated Raytown South 25-10, 25-8 in the other first-round matchup Monday. The 19-13 Broncos advance to to meet No. 2 seed Blue Springs (18-11-2) in the today’s other semifinal following the Truman-St. Teresa’s matchup. Raytown South finished 9-19-2.