Wildcats use 'team' victory to roll into district final

By Bill Althaus
Blue Springs' Lily Letchworth (8), Olivia Dixon, center, and Nikole Schnell celebrate after defeating Fort Osage 3-0 in their Class 5 District 14 semifinal Monday. The host Wildcats advanced to Wednesday's championship against rival Blue Springs South.

Blue Springs junior Chloe Kaminski is The Examiner’s reigning Player of the Year, yet Tuesday night she was just one of the girls.

The Wildcats turned in perhaps their finest overall team performance this season, coach Katie Straka said following a 3-0 win over Fort Osage in a Class 5 District 14 semifinal.

“Everyone played great tonight – a total team win,” Wildcats coach Katie Straka said after her 13-8 Wildcats swept the Indians with 25-4, 25-7 and 25-13 wins.

The win sets up another match with crosstown rival Blue Springs South at 5 p.m. Wednesday at Blue Springs High School.

“We mixed some things up and the girls really responded,” Straka said. “It was fun to watch. We were able to get some players in who haven’t had a lot of varsity playing time and their teammates really responded to them.

“And Lily just played out of her mind!”

Blue Springs setter Lily Letchworth knocks a no-look tap over the net in the Wildcats' 3-0 win over Fort Osage in a Class 5 District 14 semifinal Monday.

The veteran coach was talking about Lily Letchworth, the senior setter who moved to the front row, where she did her best Chloe Kaminski impersonation.

“I had fun moving up to be a front row setter,” said Letchworth, who finished with three aces, five kills, six digs and 23 assists. “We all played well tonight. I think tonight was one of our best all-around performances, and it came at a great time. If you lose, you go home, and none of us want to go home.”

Blue Springs' Anna Christenson (2) sends a pass to a teammate in the Wildcats' 3-0 win over Fort Osage in a Class 5 District 14 semifinal Monday.

Senior libero Anna Christenson certainly didn’t want to go home as she served the final 10 points of the first set and seven in a row in the second set, including two aces.

On the night she had 26 of 27 successful serves with six aces.

“I guess she was all right,” Straka quipped as Christenson was standing next to her. “She was about as close to perfect as you can be. She was great, but like we talked about earlier, everyone played great.”

No Wildcat player sported a bigger post-match smile than Christenson.

Blue Springs' Ella Duchane (6) and Chloe Kaminski (4) try to block a hit by Fort Osage's Audrey Griffin in Monday's Class 5 District 14 semifinal. Host Blue Springs claimed a 3-0 win.

“I have a lot of confidence in my serving,” Christenson said. “Tonight, everything was working for us – we were serving well and playing great on the front and back rows. It was a fun night.”

Junior outside hitter Jalyn Walruff led the Wildcats with 10 kills, with Kaminski finishing with six.

“It’s fun to watch Jalyn have a big night and lead us in kills,” Straka said. “I love this team. They know when to be goofy, they know when to get serious and tonight they played three great sets.”

The season came to an end for the 7-14-2 Indians. Audrey Griffin led the Indians with three kills.

Blue Springs' Jalyn Walruff spikes the ball in the Wildcats' 3-0 win over Fort Osage in a Class 5 District 14 semifinal Monday.