Platte County, Park Hill South volleyball come up short of district titles

Platte County couldn’t defend its title but showed immense growth in the first season under coach Shelby Hoffman. Playing a fourth straight season as one of the smallest schools in Missouri’s largest classification, the Pirates bowed out in the semifinals of Class 4 District 16 play Wednesday, October 21 at Park Hill High School in Kansas City, Mo. Oak Park swept Platte County ahead of an upset of top-seeded Staley later in the night.

Platte County finished 16-14-2, one year after reaching the Class 4 state quarterfinals with the best win total in program history.

Only a handful of players on this year’s team played a significant role on the 2014 district championship team. However, the Pirates built another winning team behind the play of setters/attackers Madysen Fine and Kenedy Knox — both seniors. In addition, sophomore Kenzie Polley developed into a weapon at the net toward the end of the season.

Platte County won four straight in late September, including a win against Kearney, and made a push for a share of the Suburban Conference Blue Division title. The close of the regular season included a tough weekend at the always-competitive Truman Tournament and a loss to Belton in the finale that allowed Kearney to take the league title outright.

Platte County drew the No. 3 seed in District 16 and held off St. Joseph Central in the first round. Against Oak Park, the Pirates struggled to finish off the attack with Knox recording 17 kills, while Polley and Fine added four apiece.

Bailey Harris contributed a pair of aces while Knox tallied six service points.

St. Teresa’s Academy 2, Park Hill South 1

The Panthers were downed in three sets Wednesday, Oct. 21 in Liberty, Mo., losing in the district championship game for a second straight season.

St. Teresa’s Academy won the first and third sets to score the upset. Park Hill South entered as the top seed after a stellar regular season featuring a youthful but talented roster.

Park Hill South struggled to utilize its customary three-pronged attack of juniors Andi Elley and Bri Bartosh and sophomore Annika Welty. The Panthers finished with a hit percentage of just 16 percent in the 25-19, 21-25, 25-16 defeat. Elley and Bartosh contributed eight kills apiece, while setter Allison Sadler tallied six using finesse to score some critical points.

Welty notched three of Park Hill South’s five blocks.

After receiving a first-round bye in the tournament, Park Hill South swept North Kansas City 25-19, 26-24 in a semifinal played Tuesday, Oct. 20 to reach the championship.

Park Hill South (29-6-1) lost its first two matches of the season but reeled off a pair of lengthy win streaks. Following losses in August to Lee’s Summit North and Lee’s Summit, the Panthers won 13 straight, and in fact, they did not lose outside of tournament play the rest of the season. That included a 10-0 run through the Suburban League Red Division schedule.

This year’s roster included just two seniors, and the bulk of the contributors return next season.