West Platte managed just one win and experienced a disappointing finish in the KCI Conference Tournament on Saturday, Aug. 26 in Lawson, Mo.
Despite a two-set tie with North Platte in pool competition, the Bluejays advanced to the championship bracket before finishing with back-to-back losses to end up fourth for a second straight season. They lost a three-set semifinal to East Buchanan and didn’t recover in the third-place match with Lawson after losing sophomore Daire Stelljes in the early stages of that match to injury.
West Platte dropped the second set to end up with a tie in its morning opener with North Platte but came back to beat Plattsburg 25-22, 25-20 for what ended up the lone win. Lexie Smither, a freshman, and Stelljes led the attack against the Tigers with four kills apiece, while senior Emily Norman posted five service aces.
In the pool finale with Lawson, West Platte won the opening set before again settling for a split. Stelljes, Tori Norman and Sam Rotterman all had three kills apiece for a limited offense in the 25-23, 18-25 tie.
West Platte won the opening set for a fourth straight time against East Buchanan. Faith Stevens, a sophomore in her first year as setter, still provided 22 assists with Smither (eight), Tori Norman (six) and Stelljes (four) topping the Bluejays’ attack.
However, East Buchanan came back for a 13-25, 25-18, 25-21 victory to drop West Platte into the third-place match.
After splitting earlier, Lawson pulled a 25-11, 25-14 sweep with Amanda Lowell stepping in to take Stelljes’ place. Tori Norman added to her strong tournament with four kills, while Stevens had 13 assists.
Lowell led the defense with four digs, while senior Ciara Davies had three of her team-high 15 blocks against Lawson in the third-place match.
North Platte overcame a 25-10 loss in the opening set against West Platte to earn a split with a tight 25-23 victory. The momentum didn’t hold, and the Panthers lost their final four matches and finished eighth in the field.
McKenzie Brockhoff, a senior, led North Platte with 12 kills in five matches, while Bailey Smith and Tatum Green had 10 assists each with the Panthers’ still looking at setter options. Brockhoff and Kelsey Reynolds had 15 digs apiece, while Bri Bridger posted seven blocks.
West Platte 2, Plattsburg 0
Stelljes returned to action with team-highs of eight kills and 2½ blocks along with a service ace in a KCI Conference sweep Monday, Aug. 28 in Weston, Mo.
West Platte (3-3-2) started the league season at 1-0 with a dominant performance. Smither added six kills, while senior Karen Knox had four of the Bluejays’ eight service aces.
Stevens assisted on 21 of West Platte’s 23 kills.
Orrick 2, West Platte 0
The Bluejays struggled in a 20-25, 16-25 loss Thursday, Aug. 24 in Weston, Mo.
Davies put up three kills and two blocks for West Platte in the home opener, but the defense managed just 11 digs total. Smither had three service aces, while Stelljes led the attack with three kills.
Bishop LeBlond 2, North Platte 0
The Panthers were unable to keep up with a Class 2 powerhouse in a match Thursday, Aug. 24 in St. Joseph, Mo. Brockhoff led the attack with three kills and a block in the 5-25, 10-25 loss.
West Platte 2, Mound City 0
The Bluejays opened their season with an impressive nonconference win Tuesday, Aug. 22 in Mound City, Mo.
In her debut at setter, Stevens dished out 16 assists with Smither leading West Platte’s offense with nine kills. Davies, a middle hitter, provided four blocks for the Bluejays.
South Holt 2, North Platte 0
The Panthers nearly forced a third set but ended up swept in their opener Tuesday, Aug. 22 in Oregon, Mo. The two teams pushed the match back a day due to concerns over solar eclipse traffic.
South Holt opened with a 25-17 win in the first set but needed to hold on for a 28-26 win to finish off the match.
Brockhoff impressed with 10 kills, while Reynolds added four. Brockhoff also led the defense with eight digs and a block, while Frankie Davis and Bridger also added one block apiece.
Green finished with eight assists in her debut at setter.