Jaguars make Senior Night special
The Blue Springs South volleyball team is playing like there is no tomorrow.
And with the COVID-19 pandemic looming, anything is possible.
With that in mind, a marathon session of power versus finesse finally saw the ever-changing momentum finally swing in favor of the host Jaguars Tuesday night.
They won the first two sets in tight battles (25-23, 27-25), lost the next two in more close play (25-19, 25-20) before claiming the 3-2 win with a 15-9 advantage in the decisive fifth set on Senior Night.
Seniors Aubrey LaPour, Kylie Gregory, Kyla Braden and Tamia McClunie rallied their teammates to make sure their night was one filled with memories that can briefly overshadow the pandemic.
“I love our seniors, and those four girls are the perfect leaders to have on a team during this pandemic,” South coach Mallori Perry said after the Jaguars improved to 3-1 overall and 2-1 in the conference. “All season long we’ve talked about playing each night like it’s the last time you’re able to play, because with this pandemic, who knows what is going to happen tomorrow? And our girls did that tonight.
“Like we’ve talked about so many times in the past, the momentum swung back and forth in each game, and we finally got it back in the fifth set and were able to win. And it’s such a huge win for all our girls, but it’s especially huge for our seniors.”
LaPour set the tone early, scoring the first four Jaguar points off gym-shaking kills.
“I’ve been blessed to coach Aubrey and (her sister) Hannah and I know how special this night is for both of them,” said Perry, as Hannah watched her sister from the socially distanced stands. “When Aubrey really gets going, like she had it going tonight, she’ll stomp her foot after a big kill and all her teammates will respond.
“It’s like kill, foot stomp, everyone go crazy – and we were lucky to have a lot of that tonight.”
LaPour led all players with 15 kills, but all she and front linemate McClunie wanted to talk about was the big win on Senior Night.
“I don’t even know I’m stomping my foot until I watch video of our match, and it’s like, ‘Hmm, I hope I don’t hurt myself doing that,’” LaPour joked. “Really it’s just part of my game. I’ve done it a long time, I don’t even think about it, I just want to do whatever I need to do to win.”
The power of the Jaguars overmatched the Panthers in the first two games, but Ray-Pec found a way to use finesse to claim wins in the third and fourth sets.
“They did a nice job,” Perry said of the Panthers. “I think some of our girls were a little bit too amped up and we talked about that during our timeouts late in the match. I just know after getting those first two wins, it felt great to get that final win and see all the smiles on our girls faces.”
One of the biggest belonged to McClunie, who added 10 kills, to go along with 13 by Gregory.
“I think we all inspired each other tonight,” McClunie said. “There was so much team energy out on the court, you could just feel it. We were depending on one another and we didn’t want to let anyone down.
“I think – I know! – that’s how we were able to come back and win that fifth set.”