After dropping opening game decisively, CHS out-fights Fulton in last two to take district-tourney opener Tuesday (Oct. 29, 2019). Class 3 District 9 tourney's semifinals and finals postponed from Wednesday to Thursday night, due to weather
CENTRALIA, Mo. — Chillicothe High School’s volleyball Lady Hornets had a long trip to get where they needed to be to play their district-tournament opening match Tuesday.
Once there, they took the long way around to their desired competitive destination, but – in a hopeful sign for not only this year, but next – got there, too.
Thanks to one of their statistically-best performances of the season, the fourth-seeded Lady Hornets bested fifth-seeded Fulton 15-25, 25-21, 25-21 to advance to the semifinals of the Class 3 District 9 tournament.
Chillicothe (8-16-1) will have a rematch with top seed Kirksville during Thursday’s last night of the tourney. Both semifinal matches and the championship match were to take place then, after weather and travel concerns prompted a postponement from Wednesday.
Second-seeded Marshall and No. 3 seed Mexico are the other semifinalists after straight-games quarterfinal wins Tuesday.
Kirksville (21-7-1) handled Chillicothe 25-17, 25-19 on the CHS court on Oct. 1.
Seeded fourth in the tournament being hosted by Centralia – about 30 miles southeast of Moberly and thus a good two hours from Chillicothe, CHS’ Lady Hornets charged back from a disappointing opening game of their quarterfinals match to extend their season at least two more nights.
After dropping Tuesday’s first game decisively, the senior-less Lady Hornets quickly tossed that memory in the trash and fought back to even the best-of-3-games match with the tight triumph in game two.
That put both teams “all in” for the decisive final game, the loser of which would see the curtain fall on their season.
In another duel which would have gone either way, Chillicothe captured the last rally, winning the game by the same 25-21 count as in game two.
Statistically, CHS had some of its shiniest numbers of the season, although some of that is simply because the match ended up going the 3-games limit and a total of 132 separate points were played.
The Lady Hornets finished with 27 “kills” (spikes), 27 defensive “digs,” and six blocks – all single-match highs for them in 2019.
Individually, junior Maya Snyder had the best all-around match, statistically. She pumped across the net a team-leading eight “kills” – equaling Lucy Gaston’s total in a September straight-games win at Carrollton for the Lady Hornets’ match-high this season.
Snyder also provided two of the half-dozen blocks at net, a category Chillicothe has regularly had three or less in all season.
Rounding out the 11th grader’s night, she provided a handful of “digs” to the floor defense.
Junior setter Haylee Coplen had a solid match, notching a team-leading 12 assists on offense, while also posting five “digs.”
Chillicothe’s other setter, freshman Jessi Reeter chipped in nine assists to keep the offense percolating.
Defensive specialist (libero) Makayla Vance filled her role strongly, pacing the Chillicothe floor defense with a dozen “digs,” while, in net defense, junior Gracie West had half of the Lady Hornets’ six blocks.
Sharing the net offense initiative with Snyder was sophomore hitter Clara Leamer, knocking home six spikes.
As a team, CHS was much more in sync on the timing and placement of its “kill” attempts than often has been the case this season.
Both Snyder and Gaston had only two attempts each that either failed to clear the net or sailed beyond the boundaries across it and, as a whole, the Lady Hornets had an an outstanding 75 percent success rate (27 of 36) in either making a successful “kill” or forcing Fulton to handle the attempt.
Chillicothe likely will need to elevate its game further to get past Kirksville in the semifinals.
As the previously-cited game scores suggest, KHS’ Lady Tigers won convincingly in Chillicothe, although the young CHS squad had nearly an additional month of valuable experience under its collective belt for Thursday’s rematch.
If they pull the giant surprise and captured the District 9 title, the Chillicothe spikers will have another long trip to make Saturday to play their state-tournament opener (and, if victorious in the opener, their quarterfinal match), likely going either to Jefferson City, Ashland, or California.
By winning Tuesday, this year’s CHS squad avoided matching the program’s lowest wins total this century. Had they bowed out at 7-17-1, the 2019 Lady Hornets virtually would have duplicated the 7-18 ledger of the 2002 team.