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Chillicothe (Mo.) HS Volleyball Lady Hornets Have Season-extending Win Slip Away

Paul Sturm
Chillicothe News

CAMERON — Needing one more match win to assure themselves of a better final winning percentage than their two immediate predecessors, the 2020 Chillicothe (Mo.) HS volleyball Lady Hornets put themselves right on the threshold of accomplishing that Monday. However, in the end, that modest, but positive, achievement “responded” like the protagonist in the old, twice-a-hit R&B song – “I hear you knockin’, but you cain’t come in.”

Facing Class 3 District 16 Tournament host Cameron – to whom they’d lost in straight games in undistinguished fashion the previous Wednesday – in the only quarterfinals match of the 5-teams tourney, the Lady Hornets started well.

They surprised the Lady Dragons by seven points in the first game, then seized the second in “overtime.” In 2019, that would have sent them on to the semifinals against top seed Maryville via a 2-0 triumph in the best-of-3-games format long utilized in Missouri high school volleyball. However, in 2020, with the Missouri State High School Activities Association having switched over to best-of-5 competition for its postseason play, Chillicothe still stood one game win away from victory, albeit with three chances to gain it and the odds in their favor.

However, Chillicothe didn’t sustain its level of play and Cameron elevated its as the favored hosts built ever-increasing momentum and confidence, coming all the way back to win the match.

The final score in what turned into the Lady Hornets’ season-concluding defeat was 25-18, 27-25, 17-25, 15-25, 7-15.

With the closing setback, Chillicothe’s ’20 campaign, which saw only two seniors on the active roster at year’s end, wrapped up with a 7-11 record in matches in head coach Bob Long’s first year at the helm. That .389 winning rate falls just short of the .395 rate when former coach Karen Jackson’s last two years produced identical 9-14-1 marks.

After standing 3-2 early in the season, the 4-9 record the rest of the way meant a final wins total which equaled the program’s lowest since the 4-21-1 mark of 1999. Chillicothe spikers have finished with a losing record each of the past four years and have been on the high side of .500 at season’s end only twice in the past 10 years.

In Monday’s match against Cameron, Chillicothe’s two 12th graders were leaders in two statistical categories, Long noted. Ella Leamer was tops in floor-defense “digs” with nine and Maya Snyder earned 16 assists.

“The seniors played amazing in their final outing,” the coach lauded.

Chillicothe’s net offense was paced by juniors Essie Hicks and Gracie West with 11 and 10 “kills” (spikes), respectively, while sophomore Jessica Reeter dished out 14 assists. Sophomore Anna Fisher and freshman Delanie Kieffer each served seven winning points to lead the Lady Hornets and Kieffer added eight “digs” and six “kills.” West provided six blocks in net defense.