Paparazzi have nothing on the parents and fans of the Class 4 District 14 champion Blue Springs volleyball team.
They poured onto the court at Truman High School Wednesday night to grab that special moment following the Wildcats’ 25-12, 25-18 victory over crosstown rival Blue Springs South in the championship match.
The Wildcat players photobombed head coach Katie Straka and her assistants and had almost as much fun posing for goofy photos as they did dominating the Jaguars.
“This was so important for our seniors,” said sophomore outside hitter Chloe Kaminski, who kept one crowd-pleasing rally going with a full out dive to make sure the ball didn’t touch the court.
“We came over here tonight with a ‘no ball hits the floor’ mentality. All of us had that mentality, and that’s why we were diving all over the place to get every ball we could.”
When she wasn’t sparking rallies, Kaminski was leading the Wildcats at the net with nine kills.
“We played one of our better games in the first set, and Coach told us to expect them to come back strong in the second set, and they did – but we were ready for anything,” Kaminski added.
While Kaminski led the Wildcats in kills, Straka called it a complete team win.
“We played a great first set and held on to win the second, and everyone contributed,” Straka said. “None of the girls want this season to end. We’re all having too much fun.”
No one seems to be having more fun than senior outside hitter and team cheerleader Aliyah Bello, who had four late kills at the end of the second set.
“Just doing my thing,” quipped Bello, who was having as much post-victory fun as anyone on the Wildcats team. “Even though we won pretty easy the first set, we knew they were going to come back, and I’m proud to help our team win district.
“It’s our first district title since 2015, so that means it’s the first one any of us have ever had, so we’re pretty excited. But tomorrow at practice, it’s all business. We forget about this win and get ready for sectionals.”
Blue Springs will host sectionals and the ensuing state quarterfinal Saturday, which will begin at either 1 or 3 p.m. That will be determined later today.
While the 22-10 Wildcats celebrated, South coach Mallori Perry had a long talk with her disheartened team that finished 14-18 a year after advancing to the state quarterfinals.
“I don’t know what happens in the first set when we play Blue Springs,” Perry admitted after her Jaguars lost to the Wildcats for the third time this season. “We made so many errors in the first set. And even though we came back and gave them a game in the second set, I’m still disappointed.”
Perry was happy for the seniors on Blue Springs, because she was the Wildcats junior varsity coach when they were underclassmen.
“I know how hard those girls have worked to get where they are, and I’m proud of them and happy for Grusing (Straka’s maiden name),” Perry said. “She deserves it. No one works harder than she does.”
Lily Letchworth led the Wildcats with 22 assists and Anna Christenson sparked the defense with 17 digs.
South’s Kylie Gregory had seven kills and Aubrey LaPour added five. Ryleigh McBurney had 14 assists.