Blue Springs volleyball coach Katie Grusing considered the Wildcats’ performance in the 41st Annual Truman High School Girls’ Volleyball Tournament Saturday as a good sign for the last week of the regular season and the upcoming postseason.
The Wildcats went 2-0-2 in their initial round of matches to place first in the White Pool, then went 1-1 in the championship pool to finish third overall. Their 3-1-2 match record in the daylong tournament put them at 11-15-2 entering their Senior Night match Tuesday with Park Hill.
“If you’re playing for the championship of a tournament the weekend before your last week of the season, then you have to feel like you’re where you need to be,” Grusing said.
Senior Hannah Vanriette helped lead the Wildcats to their top-three finish with 49 total kills, followed by junior Niya Harris with 30. Other contributors included senior Caroline Foster, who made 123 assists; and Aliyah Bello, who led Blue Springs with 56 digs, followed by Foster with 35.
“We definitely started slow,” Vanriette said. “But we were challenged by our coach to step up our game. And we did that in the second part of the White Pool (matches).”
Blue Springs split with Staley, swept Winnetonka, split with Park Hill South and swept Raymore-Peculiar to place first in the White Pool and advance to the championship pool. The Wildcats opened championship-round pool play by taking two of three from Lee’s Summit, 25-21, 11-25, 25-15.
When asked about the turnaround between the second and third sets of the Lee’s Summit match, Vanriette said: “You can’t really explain it. We just came together as a team and figured out what we needed to fix. We were definitely more aggressive in the final set.”
The Wildcats fell to Northland Christian 25-19, 25-22 in their other championship pool play match. Having played club volleyball with three of the girls on Northland Christian’s roster, senior Haley Rothove was expecting a tough match from the Trailblazers.
“I knew we had a chance. I wasn’t doubting our ability at all,” Rothove said. “But I knew what we were in for.”
Host Truman finished fourth in the Red Pool. The Patriots split with Park Hill, swept North Kansas City, were swept by Lee’s Summit and split with Marquette.
“Mostly, we played kind of flat,” Patriots coach David Gardner said. “We really came on at the end of the day and played like we’re capable. Had we played that way all day, we’d have had a little different outcome out of pool play today.”
The Patriots are 13-10-4 entering their Senior Night match Tuesday with Park Hill South. They’ll finish regular-season play Thursday night at Liberty.