WESTON, Mo. — The final match ended up being very representative of the season.
In the Class 1 District 15 first round, West Platte took the opening set but came up just short of advancing to the semifinals. Wellington-Napoleon came back for a 19-25, 25-18, 25-21 victory at West Platte High School.
West Platte entered the season with question marks but rebuilt the offense around sophomore setter Faith Stevens and senior middle hitter Ciara Davies. The Bluejays endured a one-win showing in the KCI Conference Tournament, came back to win six of the next seven, suffered through a seven-match winless streak and ended up with a share of the league’s regular season title.
“It’s been a rollercoaster of a season,” West Platte coach Amber Guthrie said. “We started out pretty well and then went into a little bit of a slump there in the middle, but I am really proud of how the girls ended the season.”
West Platte finished 13-12-3 overall but wound up with the sixth seed in the seven-team district bracket.
In a rematch of last year’s first round, Wellington-Napoleon struggled early with Davies, who ended up totaling 11 kills. The Tigers then started strong in the second and third sets to eventually avoid the upset in the first meeting between the teams since last year.
“I had watched a little bit of film on them, and after watching them and knowing what we are capable of, I knew that we were going to match up pretty well with them,” Guthrie said. “I think our girls came in and battled really hard, and I think it could have gone either way. Unfortunately, it just went their way tonight.”
West Platte opened the season minus last year’s setter and needing to restock the outside of the attack.
Sam Rotterman, a sophomore, developed into a threat, and she totaled five kills in 32 attempts against Wellington-Napoleon. Tori Norman, another sophomore, posteda season-high seven kills in the loss.
Davies and junior Daire Stelljes made up a strong inside, while Rotterman and freshman Lexie Smither became the top outside options. Stevens turned in a season-best 27 assists for West Platte in what ended up the finale along with a team-high 11 digs.
Stelljes and senior Emily Norman had nine digs apiece, while Davies had seven blocks.
West Platte had four seniors total on the roster, including defensive specialist Karen Knox and reserve Mikayla Lowe. The Bluejays posted a winning record each of the past four years.
“They’re a great group (of seniors), and they have all contributed in different ways,” Guthrie said. “Ciara’s blocking is huge for us. Her hitting tonight was on and she was great. Emily and Karen have both been huge in the back row this year. They pick up just about everything, and they were hard to score on tonight.
“We’ll miss them definitely.”
Class 2 District 16
Lawson 2, North Platte 0
The Panthers’ season came to an end in a 25-10, 25-18 sweep against a KCI foe in the first round Monday, Oct. 16 in Lawson, Mo.
With the loss, North Platte finished at 2-27-1 in another difficult season with a young roster. The Panthers had just two seniors with the majority of offense coming from juniors and sophomores.
North Platte drew the No. 6 seed in the six-team bracket and faced off with co-KCI champion Lawson in the opening round. McKenzie Brockhoff, a sophomore, totaled a team-high four kills, while junior Kelsey Reynolds provided eight digs.
Tatum Green supplied four assists for North Platte’s offense.
West Platte 2, North Platte 0
The Bluejays wrapped up a share of the KCI Conference title with a 25-9, 25-17 victory Tuesday, Oct. 10 in Weston, Mo.
West Platte, Mid-Buchanan and Lawson all finished 6-1 in the final standings. To earn its piece, West Platte had to beat North Platte for a second time in a span of eight days after the two teams tied in a two-set pool matchup during the conference tournament early in the season.
In the third matchup, West Platte recorded just 17 total kills — team-high four for Rotterman — while Davies added three service aces. Emily Norman notched seven digs for the defense.
North Platte finished 1-6 in KCI play with the lone win coming against Hamilton last month. Brockhoff led the offense with six kills and the defense with six digs, and Bri Bridger added a pair of blocks for the Panthers.