Youth was served Tuesday night at Blue Springs South High School as a couple of sophomores stood center stage for the Blue Springs Wildcats volleyball team.
Sophomore middle hitter Ella Duchane led the Wildcats with five kills and dominated play on the front line most of the night as coach Katie Straka’s squad claimed a 25-21, 25-8 over the Jaguars.
Another sophomore, Chloe Kaminski, added an ace and three kills, including the game-winner in the runaway second set.
“It’s always a big win when you beat your crosstown rival,” Duchane said. “This was a complete team win. We had a lot of momentum at the end of the first set and we kept going in the second set. We didn’t want to let them get back in the match.”
Veteran senior outside hitter Aliyah Bello agreed with her young teammate.
“They’re so good, if you let them back in the game who knows what might happen,” said Bello, who had two late aces in the second set and three kills. “It’s always fun to play South.”
South second-year coach Mallori Perry was an assistant coach at Blue Springs when Bello was a freshman and sophomore.
“Much love to Coach Perry always,” Bello said, with a big smile. “We love her and want her to win – except when she’s playing us.”
Perry appreciated Bello’s remark.
“The seniors on that Blue Springs team mean so much to me,” Perry said, after the Jaguars slipped to 8-10 and 2-3 in the Suburban Big Six. “We’re going to see them again (in the regular season) and we’re probably going to see them in district.
“We talked about some things after the match, and there are a lot of things we can take from this loss. If we don’t learn from our mistakes, it’s just a bad loss.”
Straka was pleased as her team improved to 8-4 overall and 3-2 in the Big Six.
“This really was a complete-team win, and Ella and Chloe played well tonight – and so did our setter, Lily Letchworth. She had 15 assists and she is a real even keel kid – never too high, never too low – and the kids follow her lead.
“Ella is so quiet, but she can really play and has a lot of club experience, and Chloe has had a great season. Everyone who played tonight contributed, and that’s what a coach likes to see.”
Ava Epperson led South with seven kills, Ryleigh McBurney added 10 digs and Mandy Main finished with 15 assists.
“We came into tonight off one of our biggest wins of the season at Park Hill (25-9, 31-29) last night,” Perry added. “The bench played great, everyone got into it and it was a great night.
“We’ll work on the mistakes we made tonight and come back strong.”