• Local teams end summer on high note

  • Blue Springs South volleyball coach Dave MacLean sported an ear-to-ear grin and a world of optimism Tuesday night.

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  • Blue Springs South volleyball coach Dave MacLean sported an ear-to-ear grin and a world of optimism Tuesday night.
    Following his team’s 25-12, 25-11 victory over Raytown Tuesday night at Lee's Summit North High School in the final session of the six-week-long Broncos Summer Volleyball League, he was all smiles.
    His Jaguars team enjoyed a great deal of success in the summer league, including a victory over perennial state power Lee's Summit West.
    “We beat West, the team with the big bull's-eye on its back,” MacLean said, “and after that win I asked the girls, 'Do you want to be the team this season with a target on your back?' And they said yes – and I believe them.
    “I then asked them if they wanted to become a top-shelf team, or a B-plus team, and they said they'd do whatever it takes to become a top-shelf team. I enjoy being around the girls. They fun to watch and fun to coach.
    “They've worked hard all summer and we're a better team today than we were six weeks ago when the camp started.”
    The Jaguars feature two Division I players in middle hitter Mia Swanegan (Texas Christian University) and Alexa Armendariz (Missouri). They each played key roles in the Jaguars’ rout of the Blue Jays.
    “We're a confident team,” Swanegan said. “We have a lot of faith in each other and we like playing with each other. If we're not playing, we're hanging out with each other, going out, doing things. We've really built a lot of team chemistry this summer and it shows when we play.”
    MacLean believes that team chemistry will become even more important once the school season begins in the fall.
    “You can tell the girls really like each other and have a lot of faith in their teammates,” said MacLean, whose father Jerry (a former Jaguars volleyball coach) watched the game from the sidelines. “They're working hard on passing and defense and we can become a very good offensive team. Mia is not going into each game with all the pressure on her shoulders. We have a great blend of veteran experience and new, young talent. I can't wait for the season to start.”
    That comment was echoed by two other Eastern Jackson County coaches – Blue Springs' Katie Grusing and Lee's Summit North's Rhea Moses, who runs the six-week summer league.
    “We couldn't do this without a lot of help, especially from our alumni,” Moses said after a hard-earned 25-18, 23-25, 15-10 victory over Grusing's Wildcats. “We all work hard to make sure the teams have everything they need and the games start on time – which wasn't the case tonight.
    Page 2 of 2 - “I'm really happy with what I've seen from my kids and I can't wait to see how well they play this upcoming season. There were a lot of areas we needed to work on, and I saw a lot of improvement.
    “We have some new players, some experienced players and a good blend of upperclassmen and underclassmen. I think we're going to have some fun and some success this season.”
    The Wildcats topped perennial state power O'Hara 25-17, 25-16 before losing the three-game match to the Broncos.
    “We made some significant strides, which is something I think every coach in the league could say,” Grusing said. “We have to see what type of team we become. Will be need to be more physical or smarter? Will we play big or small?
    “Those are the questions you try to answer in the summer, and then you begin to work out the details once you have the girls in the gym every day in the fall. Overall, I'm happy with what I've seen.
    “We're all looking forward to the season.”
    Follow Bill Althaus on Twitter: @AlthausEJC

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