First-year Blue Springs South volleyball coach Mallori Perry had been looking forward to Thursday’s match.
The Jaguars dominated every phase of a Suburban Big Six victory over Park Hill Thursday night at home, topping the Trojans 25-12, 25-14 in a lightning-quick match.
“This was the match I’ve been waiting for,” said Perry, who served as an assistant coach at crosstown rival Blue Springs before taking over the reins of the Jaguars. “We came into this season with eight seniors returning off one of the best teams in school history – then (Pleasant Hill star) Morgan Gish’s family moves to Blue Springs and joins the team and the girls show their class by welcoming her with open arms. It’s been an incredible start and I think we’re going to keep getting better.”
The Jaguars took a quick 12-4 lead in the first set and a 12-2 lead in the second and never looked back as they improved to 9-1 overall and 1-0 in the conference.
“This is so exciting, being with a new team, with a new coach,” said Gish, who led the Jaguars with nine kills. “My family moved to Blue Springs, and I’m a senior. I had no idea how the girls would respond, and they have treated me like a member of the family.
“I’ve played with most of them in club ball, and now we’re having a lot of fun. Tonight, everything just came together for us. It was pretty incredible.”
Gish brings impeccable credentials to South as she started for three Pleasant Hill teams that made it to the state final four – finishing third as a freshman, second as a sophomore and third again last year – and attained national rankings.
“I know what it takes to make it to state and I believe we have the talent to go a long way this season,” Gish added. “We’re all having so much fun.”
Returning all-state middle blocker Hannah LaPour agreed with her new teammate.
“A night like this – a win like this – just energizes everyone on the team,” said LaPour, who finished with eight kills and dominated play on the front line in the second set. “We have had a winning culture here at South for a long time.
“We had a great team last year, just about everyone is back, and Morgan is on the team and she is a great player. Tonight, we played so well we got the momentum early and never lost it – and that’s unusual for volleyball.
“We’ve worked so hard, we love our new coach and everyone is really getting together well on and off the court. This could really be a special season.”
Senior outside hitter Taylor Brungardt said the team has deflected any pressure from high expectations that came following the success of last season.
“We are having too much fun and winning too many matches to feel any pressure,” Brungardt said. “This is basically the same team from last year, with a new coach. We love our coach and she loves us and you can tell that by the way we are playing.
“She has us playing team ball. No one cares about personal stats, just winning.”