The future is now for coach David MacLean’s Blue Springs South volleyball team.
Even though the Jaguars do not have a senior on their varsity roster, they have enough talent to make some noise this season after overpowering crosstown rival Blue Springs 32-30, 25-17 in a match that lived up to the rivalry between the two Suburban Big Seven powers.
Sophomore middle hitters Hannah LaPour and Meaunna Booth had 12 kills each and Taylor Brungardt added 10 as the Jaguars proved it’s what’s up front that counts in topping your biggest rival.
“Our kids really responded tonight,” MacLean said after the Jaguars (9-0), who were coming off a title in the Branson Tournament Saturday, improved to 1-0 in Big Seven action. “They’re so young, that I don’t think they realize what it’s like to play with a sense of urgency.
“And we’re so sporadic with our offense – we’ll score some points, and then give up some points. But the play of Blue Springs had a lot to do with that.
“Any team coached by Katie Grusing is going to be ready to play. Her team’s are always a threat to blow things open.”
LaPour’s three kills gave the Jaguars three of their first points in the first set. But the never-say-die Wildcats managed to keep the game close by using strong defense and good communication to take it to the limit.
A kill by the Wildcats’ Hannah Vanriette made it 30-30, but LaPour answered with another kill and the Jaguars managed to hold on for the 32-30 victory.
“It was a super exciting match,” LaPour said. “I’m proud of our team because we’re so young that a lot of people weren’t sure how good we would be this early. I think we’re going to keep getting better and better as the season goes on.”
They were certainly better in Game 2 as they topped the Wildcats by eight points and were never seriously challenged.
“It was exhausting out there, but a lot of fun,” Booth said. “I think the key to our win was that we never gave up and worked as hard – or harder – in the second match as we did the first. We love playing each other and since we’re all underclassmen, we’ll be playing with each other next year too.”
Grusing, whose Wildcats fell to 0-1 in conference play, praised the young Jaguars.
“They have the big blockers up front and really get after it,” Grusing said. “We need to work on a few things, do a few things better – but South had a lot to do with some of the mistakes we made. It was a good night of volleyball, with a great atmosphere. I think everyone got into the matches tonight and we’ll get back to work to have some success later in the week when we play Raymore-Peculiar.”
Vanriette led the Wildcats with nine kills, Caroline Foster had 11 assists and Jaden Osborne dished out seven digs.