After taking game one 25-15, CHS girls topped 25-17, 25-22 in last two Wednesday; senior-laden Lady Hornets end outstanding year 20-7-1

By PAUL STURM, C-T Sports Editor
CAMERON, Mo. — One night after a hot-cold-hot performance barely got them by St. Joseph: Benton in a tight semifinals match, the Chillicothe High School volleyball Lady Hornets followed a nearly-identical script against St. Joseph: Lafayette in a championship battle between programs both seeking a first-ever district crown Wednesday night.
Disappointingly for the top-seeded Lady Hornets , whose program is in its 23rd year of existence, and thrillingly for the Lady Irish, who have competed in the sport for 38 years, it was Lafayette which came away with the long-sought title, rallying past Chillicothe 15-25, 25-17, 25-22 in the Class 3 District 16 Tournament finals at Cameron High School.
In a seesaw deciding game, Lafayette led by as many as four points early and Chillicothe rallied to have in hand by three points fairly late, 21-18.
The Lady Irish reversed the momentum by capturing five-consecutive points coming out of their second timeout for a 23-21 lead.
After an exchange of points, Lafayette won when, with Cydney Ezzell having served, junior Lexi Lafave used a running start to get a little extra height on her jump and drove home, on LHS’ first volley of the point, a “kill” off the set of Madison Skeen. Lafave drove the ball to the floor in the middle of the court as it cleared the desperation block attempts of Mary Grace Rice and Whitney Clampitt. It appeared on video that Chillicothe might have ended up being whistled – for a second-straight point – with touching the net on the block try, but whether the floor official saw and would have whistled it became a moot point when the Lady Hornets could not make the “dig” anyway.
Chillicothe’s season-ending loss left it with a final 20-7-1 mark, the second-best record in Lady Hornets history and second-most wins. The advancement to the district-title match was a second-time occurrence, too, following the 2010 team’s appearance.
Statistically in the match, it was a typlcal performance by the Lady Hornets with seniors Katelyn Parkey and Whitney Clampitt leading the net offense while providing all-around contributions, senior Carly Gardner and sophomore Elli Ross providing the bulk of the “sets,” and seniors Hannah Jones, Maggie Leatherman, Emma Leamer, Ruthie Vinson, and Rice contributing in their less-conspicuous, but important, roles.
Parkey had a team-high 15 “kills,” but was only slightly over 33 percent in success rate. Clampitt had 13 “kills”, but LHS limited her success rate to only the high 20s, percentage-wise. Clampitt had a team-best 10 blocks and Parkey hit and the duo shared the CHS lead in “digs” with seven each.
Gardner set up 13 Chillicothe winning “kills” with assists and Ross 11, but neither had as many as one-third of their attempts produce winners.
Leatherman and Clampitt shared the team lead in winning points served with 10 apiece. Leatherman served one more point in total – 16. As a team, Chillicothe won only 37 of the 65 points it served, with Parkey having the best percentage – eight won in 12 served.