By any measure, the Pirates finished off their best two-year stretch ever, but they couldn’t find a way to beat Liberty in three tries. Platte County survived a pair of three-set tests last week to reach the Class 4 state quarterfinals but lost 25-13, 26-24 to the Blue Jays on Oct. 25 at Lee’s Summit West High School in Lee’s Summit, Mo.
Ranked No. 1 in Class 4 according to the Missouri High School Volleyball Coaches Association, Liberty ended up responsible for all the blemishes on Platte County’s 33-3-2 record.
“I was very proud of the way our team played,” Platte County coach Jan Patterson said. “We worked together and made Liberty earn every point.”
Platte County knocked out Park Hill in straight sets during Oct. 22’s Class 4 District 15 semifinals then fended off the hosts in the final later in the night at Oak Park High School. The Pirates came back for a 21-25, 27-25, 25-18 victory against the Lady Oakies – the first of three postseason matches where they dropped the first set.
In the playoffs for the first time since back-to-back Class 3 district titles in 2007 and 2008, Platte County fell behind Blue Springs in a sectional matchup at Lee’s Summit West earlier on Oct. 25.
The Pirates came back to win the second set but trailed 18-10 in the decider before a key serving run from senior Maren Mair changed the outlook. Riley Stephens contributed three of her four kills in the match and three ace blocks during an 8-0 run that tied the score.
After five more ties, Platte County scored the final two points — the last after a tough floater serve from Mickey Trimble hurt Blue Springs’ attack attempt. Mair recorded a block to advance the Pirates to quarterfinals for just the second time ever.
Liberty won the opening set of the quarterfinal 25-13 but trailed 13-8 in the second before Platte County’s upset bid came unraveled. Mair recorded 19 kills total on the day, and Kenedy Knox added 20 to go with a team-high 20 assists. Trimble ended up with 19 assists.
The historic run only became possible thanks to the comeback earlier in the week vs. Oak Park, which held a 17-13 lead in the second set with a chance to knock off the top seed.
Platte County scored the final two points to even the match on a kill and tip block for Stephens.
The Lady Pirates took a stand down 13 to 17 and slowly worked their way back into the match. The Pirates were down 22-23 when Teryn Scott got the serve and quickly got a 1 pt. lead, 24-23 — The match was tied again at 25-25 when the Pirates won the rally point on a sharp blast from Riley Stephens and won the next point on another well placed tip off the block by Stephens, ending with a 27-25 victory.
“I was very proud of the way our team took a stand – stopped the Oakies and turned things around,” Patterson said. ““We dug ourselves out of pretty big hole and lived to fight another day; it was an awesome night.”
“We found a way to get the job done – we corrected mistakes as the match went along and continued to stay aggressive.” “We never stopped swinging, it was awesome”
Stephens and Mair recorded nine kills apiece, and Morgan Ditter added eight in the two district victories. Stephens also led the block with five.
Platte County beat Park Hill 25-18, 25-18 in the opener. Trojans senior Jessica Worster had six kills in the loss, which came two nights after they opened district play with a win against fourth-seeded Kearney. Against the Bulldogs, senior Hannah Martin led Park Hill with six kills and 12 assists, while senior Olivia Nowakowski — a Northwest Missouri State commit — came up with 16 digs.
Liberty 2, Park Hill South 0
The Panthers dropped the Class 4 District 15 final Oct. 22 at Winnetonka High School in Kansas City, Mo., to the eventual state semifinal qualifiers.
Seeded second, Park Hill South reached the championship match by dispatching St. Teresa’s in the semifinals the previous night. Liberty won both sets 25-20 to knock off the Panthers and move on to the playoffs.
Senior Kayla Wainwright led Park Hill South’s effort at the net with six kills and two blocks. Katrina Kaltefleiter added five blocks. Park Hill South finished the season at 19-11-3, one year after reaching the state semifinals.