LaPour gets everyone involved in Jaguars' win

By Bill Althaus
bill.althaus@examiner.net
Blue Springs South's Aubrey LaPour celebrates after knocking down a kill in the Jaguars' 3-0 win over Truman in the Class 5 District 14 semifinals Monday at Blue Springs High School.

Blue Springs South volleyball coach Mallori Perry raved about Aubrey LaPour following her Jaguars’ 3-0 Class 5 District 14 semifinal victory over one of the best Truman teams in recent years.

And it takes several minutes before she even mentions what the senior outside hitter accomplished on the court in the three-game sweep.

“We have a freshman middle hitter (Alexis Alexander) and she went up for a kill late in the third set and was blocked,” said Perry, whose team swept with 25-17, 25-22 and 25-8 wins. “Aubrey goes right over to our setter and tells her to set Alexis up again.”

This time the 6-foot-1 newcomer slammed home a kill to make the score 24-18. In fairy tale fashion, LaPour recorded her third ace of the night to set off a heartfelt celebration on the court.

A hit by Truman's Sarina Ulberg (15) is blocked by Blue Springs South's Alexis Alexander (23) and Kylie Gregory (16) in their Class 5 District 14 semifinal Monday. Blue Springs South won 3-0.

“I love Alexis, she works so hard and I just love her to death,” LaPour said. “I did go over to our setter and asked her to set Alexis up again because I knew she would do something special – and she did.

“I think that kill was the most excited any of us got all night until we won. That’s what makes our team so special. We’re a family. Coach Perry has made us a family and we all love each other.’

The win sends the 7-12 Jaguars, who have battled injuries and COVID-19-related issues much of the season, into the 5 p.m. Wednesday district title game against crosstown rival Blue Springs.

“They got us during the regular season,” LaPour said, “but it’s like Coach Perry told us tonight, we can either be remembered as a 7-12 team that was just 4-10 in conference, or we can be remembered as a team that made a run for a district championship.

“We got a big win tonight over a great Truman team and Wednesday we face our crosstown rival. I’m not going to be able to sleep until Wednesday.”

Perry lavished the same type of praise on LaPour the player, that she did on LaPour the teammate.

“She’s amazing,” said Perry, as LaPour led all players with 16 kills. “She is just unstoppable at times, and she plays so well on the back row. She is so coachable, and such a great player – but she is always going to be a better person.”

Blue Springs South's Tori Valentine (14) tips the ball past Truman's Taylor Jett (10) in Monday's Class 5 District 14 semifinal at Blue Springs High School. Valentine and the Jaguars went on to claim a 3-0 win.

When asked about LaPour, Truman coach David Gardner managed a wry smile.

“She’s one of the big dogs, and we did our best to play with the big dogs tonight,” Gardner said after the Patriots wrapped up a 17-9-5 season. “She’s just an outstanding player, and so powerful. She was certainly on fire tonight.”

So was Truman junior middle hitter Sarina Ulberg, who led the Patriots with seven kills.

“Sarina proved she can play with the big dogs, but South was the better team tonight,” Gardner said. “I hope our young girls saw what Aubrey and Sarina did tonight and that will encourage them to get into the weight room before next season.”

Blue Springs South's Aubrey LaPour (18) spikes the ball past a pair of Truman blockers in Monday's Class 5 District 14 semifinal. LaPour and the Jaguars claimed a 3-0 win to advance to Wednesday's championship against Blue Springs.