Platte County takes lessons from weekend out-of-town tournament

Amanda Sullivan
Special to the Citizen

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The Platte County volleyball team competed at Hillcrest High School in a tournament, finishing second in the consolation finals.

Coach Katlyn Donovan said the tournament was a good learning experience for the team at this point in the season.

“We are better for coming to this tournament — that’s why we chose it,” Donovan said. “We knew we would have good, strong competition. And, it’s teams we don’t usually see throughout the season, so it’s going to make us better.”

The Pirates started off the one-day event against Jefferson City in pool play. While the sets were close, Jefferson City was victorious in two sets, winning 27-25 and 25-20.

Aly Anderson had eight kills and Kate Brown added five for the Pirates in the loss. Brown added four aces and seven digs, two behind Ashley Bell’s nine, while Presli Firkins had a team-high 14. Bell added 18 assists.

Willard, the Pirates’ second matchup, is a higher level team. According to Max Preps, Willard’s senior setter Ashton Wildermuth is the No. 1 player in the state and had 20 assists in the two sets played against Platte County. Wildermuth’s team took a final four trip last fall and only lost one player from that squad.

Platte County’s match was lopsided, with the Pirates losing in two-straight sets, 25-16 and 25-14.

AMANDA SULLIVAN/Special to the Citizen  Platte County’s Presli Firkins (22) digs the ball during a match in the Hillcrest Tournament on Saturday, Sept. 14 in Springfield.

AMANDA SULLIVAN/Special to the Citizen

Platte County’s Presli Firkins (22) digs the ball during a match in the Hillcrest Tournament on Saturday, Sept. 14 in Springfield.

Anderson’s four kills led the Pirates’ attacking. Firkins had 12 digs in the loss, while Bell had five assists.

The Pirates’ final pool play match of the day was against Lebanon and they won 25-17 twice for a two-set advantage going into bracket play.

The offense was balanced in the win with four players having at least three kills. Hannah Walker’s five paced the attack for Platte County. 

Bell had three aces and had 11 assists. Anderson had nine digs, while Mary Grace Hunter had eight and Bell added seven. Nicola Kingery had a total of six combined blocks, including two solo, for Platte County.

“We came out of pool play third — which isn’t what we wanted — but we played some really good competition,” Donovan said.

The Pirates record placed them in the consolation bracket. They went on to win with ease of Waynesville before falling to Lebanon in the consolation finals.

“I think our girls got a little tired, lost a little trust between our back row and our front row, but it’s early in the season. It’s stuff we can work on for the future,” Donovan said.

Waynesville posted wins of 25-11 and 25-12.

Platte County had five players with at least three kills and Anderson’s five paced the attack.  She joined Kayla Duggan and Hunter with two aces for the team high.

Firkins had nine digs, while Anderson added seven. Bell had 12 of the team’s 19 assists.

In a rematch against Lebanon, the Yellowjackets won in two sets, 25-13 and 25-18.

Brown had six kills for Platte County. Bell had 17 assists, two aces and nine digs. Mishell Simms had eight digs.

Even with that struggle, Donovan said every girl who played was able to contribute and do something productive. Plus, with the level of competition in this tournament, it wasn’t about focusing on the losses.

“I always tell the girls, ‘We don’t get losses, we learn lessons from each game,’ so we took a lot of lessons,” Donovan said. “Overall, as a team, at one point in time, we were all playing really well. We’ve just got to get everyone playing well together, and then I think we’ll be a pretty good team.”