Last year, the William Chrisman volleyball team had to depend on Davionna Lagrone for the bulk of its offense.
This season, the Bears have found another major contributor – Morgan Bauman.
The duo of Bauman and Lagrone powered Chrisman to the tune of 23 kills and 11 aces combined to help it take a 25-20, 23-25, 25-16 win over crosstown rival Fort Osage in a Suburban Middle Six matchup.
“Both of these teams are like twin sisters,” Chrisman coach Dean Rausch said of his squad and Fort Osage. “Both teams fight really hard and we always seem to go to three sets.”
Bauman came up huge in the third and deciding set as she rattled off 10 straight service points to help the Bears take a 23-12 lead. Lagrone had a kill and freshman Jacqueline David finished the game off with a scoring block.
The Bears won this set after losing an early lead and falling to the Indians in the second game. Bauman was a big part of that as she got her jump serve going for the first time this season, which led to a game-high seven aces.
“For a while I have been working on that,” Bauman said of her jump serve. “It’s something that I have been using all season but it has never worked this well.”
Added Rausch: “Morgan was the leader tonight. She stepped up and had a solid match all the way around. Her hitting was great. Her serving was great. Her passing was great. You need that person who is consistent.”
In addition to her serving prowess, Bauman was able to get kills from all over the floor, including the back row, giving Lagrone some much needed assistance.
“It helps a lot when you have someone else (getting kills),” Lagrone said of Bauman, who had 11 kills. “When you’re a power hitter and you’re the only one, the other team knows to block you 100 percent. When you have someone else to shake it up, it makes it a whole lot easier.”
Added Rausch: “I told her after that second set, ‘You are trying to hit home runs all the time. Base hits are going to score more runs.’ That’s when she started looking more for areas that are open.”
Lagrone, who is normally known for getting kills by powerfully slamming the ball to the floor, knocked down 12 kills, but some of them came due to some craftiness. She found a hole in the Fort Osage defense and had a handful of kills by using a fake set which she carefully placed in the back row.
“I’ve been trying to play smarter instead of hitting the ball hard 100 percent,” Lagrone said. “When I saw that spot open (on Fort’s back line), I just knew I needed to get there.”
David also provided a boost with her presence on the front line when Lagrone had to go to the bench. She tallied three kills and two blocks.
“(Fort Osage) was yelling for their freshman, but Jacqueline doesn’t look like a freshman,” Rausch said. “She looks more like a college freshman. She’s still got a lot to learn about the game but she has come so far.”
The efforts of David, Lagrone and Bauman, along with many others has led to Chrisman’s best record since 2014 at 13-17 (5-4 in the Suburban Middle Six).
Fort Osage (12-18, 1-6) was able to come back from minor deficits throughout the night, but was unable to sustain it had.
“That was definitely not the ending that we wanted,” Fort Osage coach Vanessa Gage said. “We had some issues where we got stuck in serve receive for a little bit. We have a problem where we got stuck and gave up some points and struggled to rally back and get out of that.
“Tonight I felt like we would get one point then we’d fight to rally back and tied it up or get up a point then they would score several points after that.“
Rachel Tharp led Fort Osage with four kills.