For one dominating set Tuesday night at Truman High School, the Blue Springs South volleyball team looked like world beaters.
Coach Mallori Perry’s Jaguars routed Fort Osage 25-8 in the first set of the Class 4 District 14 semifinals. But the Indians roared to life in the second set only to fall 25-22, setting up a Blue Springs-Blue Springs South championship match tonight at 6 p.m.
“I think we know a little bit about our opponent tomorrow night,” Perry said, with a smile and a wink. “I know one thing, we have to play better than we did in that second set. I loved how we played in the first set. Then the second set ... well, we just have to play better.
“It’s not like we’re 27-2 and can go out and beat anyone. For gosh sake, we have a losing record (14-18), but we can play with any team if we play like we did that first set.”
Setter Ryleigh McBurney set the tone for the Jaguars in the first set as she served the first four – and last four – points, and added three aces, including two on the 23rd and 24th points.
“I take a lot of pride in my serving and we all work on serving and passing all the time in practice,” said McBurney, who led the Jaguars with 15 assists. “The best thing about tonight’s win is that everyone contributed. It was a complete team win.”
Kylie Gregory, who tied Ava Epperson with a team-high five kills, agreed, adding, “We’re all excited about tomorrow night. If we put in the same effort we did tonight, we can get a win.”
The Jaguars ran off to a 17-8 lead in the first set and scored the final eight points to claim the win. Gregory had two of her five kills during that run.
It looked like the second set might have the final result, as Blue Springs South took a 7-1 lead before the 20-11-1 Indians caught fire.
Fort Osage took its first lead at 12-11, and the score was tied many times, until it reached 18-all.
South ran off to a 23-20 lead, but again Fort Osage made it interesting on a Ciera Cory ace and a Kendra Siefker kill.
But a Gregory kill resulted in the 25th point for the Jaguars and a match victory.
“I cannot accept the way we played the first set,” Fort Osage coach Vanessa Gage said after the match, “and I let our girls know that. I asked our seniors if that was the way they wanted their season to end and they really responded in the second set.
“I’m disappointed we lost, but extremely happy with the way we came back and fought so hard. I can live with that.”