Since she didn’t get a car for her 16th birthday, Blue Springs High School sophomore Ella Duchane quipped that the Wildcats 25-21, 25-18 Suburban Big Six win over visiting Lee’s Summit North Thursday night was her best gift.
“My sister Evelyn (a senior middle hitter) and I share a car, although Evelyn thinks it’s hers,” joked Duchane, who had four kills for the Wildcats. “To her, it’s her car, but she’s pretty good about sharing it.
“But I am glad we won tonight, even though we didn’t play very well. You don’t want to lose any night, but you really don’t want to lose on your birthday.”
Neither team seemed to have the energy they usually display on the court, and their respective coaches were trying to pinpoint the reason.
“I’ve seen practices where we’ve had more energy than we had tonight,” Wildcats coach Katie Straka said after her team improved to 12-8 overall and 4-2 in league play. “We got up big in each set, but couldn’t hold the momentum.
“We didn’t play our best, but we still won against a good team, so I guess that is a positive we can take away from tonight.”
One Wildcat who provided plenty of energy was senior Cherray Wilson, who finished with a team-high six kills and dominated portions of the second set.
“A win is a win, but we didn’t play very well tonight,” Wilson said. “We all think that consistency is the most important thing in a match and we didn’t have any consistency tonight.
“We got up 6-0 in the first set and let them get back in it, and we led (19-12) in the second set and they made a comeback at the end. But they never came back and took the lead or won a set, so that is a positive from tonight.”
Lee’s Summit North coach Shelby Hoffman approached the match in much the same fashion as Straka.
“We didn’t show much energy, and it was a sloppy match,” Hoffman said after her team slipped to 7-15 overall and 1-7 in the conference. “We’re so young and it seems like we always get off to a slow start, then make a run. But tonight, we didn’t make enough of a run.
“We lose 25-21 in the first set, and we’re down 6-0 early on, so if we get off to a better start, who knows? But we’re young and we just have to learn from this.”