Revenge is a dish best served cold.
On Tuesday night, the Lebanon volleyball team served up a large portion of it when they swept the Central Bulldogs to claim the Missouri Class 5 District 10 championship, 25-17, 25-19, 26-24.
The Bulldogs had beaten the top-seeded ‘Jackets a year ago, and now Lebanon earned a win over top-seeded Central.
With the win, Lebanon captured their first district volleyball title since 2006.
“So proud of this group of kids,” Lebanon head coach Jenny Collins said after the win. “They have worked for this moment all season long, and honestly, the work started long before then. They are so deserving of the opportunity to play in the district championship match. Coming away with a three-set win over Central and a great team performance overall is really exciting.
“After losing to Central last season for the district championship, we walked away very disappointed, and I think those feelings of heartbreak were much of the driving force behind the overall season we have had this year, along with the way that the girls prepared and responded to this championship opportunity.”
Having lost to the Bulldogs earlier this season, the ‘Jackets knew what they had to do better to get over the hump.
“Central is very big on the front line and has several really tough hitters to defend,” Collins stated. “When they are in-system, they can turn a match around in their favor very quickly. One of our goals was to use our serving as a weapon to pull them out of system, and I think our servers did a very nice job of this as we scored 11 points on aces alone, as well as had many other serves that pulled their setters and hitters off of the net.
“We honed in on some of their hitter tendencies and worked on some blocking strategies with our front row, and they came up big several times during the match earning kill blocks and put-backs. Karagan Bean blocked well during the semifinal match and was right back at it again during the championship, earning two kill blocks and several put-backs. Addy Rebmann also contributed two, and Ciaria Keeney had one. Chloe Shivers led the defensive charge earning 15 digs, while Jocee Pettyjohn (12), Myah Hough, and Addy Rebmann each contributed on the defensive end as well. Offensively, we continue to find ways to score, and our attackers are confident and want the ball in tight situations. Addy Rebmann and Myah Hough, our outsides have been key in earning these points, and we have also seen offensive threats from our middles in Karagan Bean and Destiny Zimdars and setter/RS Chloe Shivers.”
One of Lebanon’s top blockers in Chava Yevsa suffered an ankle sprain early in the match and did not return. Fortunately, the 2021 Lebanon team features plenty of depth, and Ciaria Keeney stepped up in a big way.
“I had told the additions to our district roster that they were chosen for a reason and that we are confident in their abilities if called upon,” said Collins. “Every day in practice, they make us better and can make our practice scrimmage sessions competitive due to their efforts. When Ciaria Keeney was given the opportunity (on Tuesday night), she took advantage of it. She earned two kills and a kill block and brought a spark of energy to the court during her three rotations of play each set.”
Lebanon will look to continue their season with a Class 5 sectional match looming against the 30-plus win Rock Bridge Bruins. The game will be at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday at Rock Bridge High School.
Tickets must be purchased online at the MSHSAA website as there will be no ticket sales at the doors. Fans can click the tickets icon at the top of the page.
Stats against Central:
Kills: Addy Rebmann 12, Myah Hough 9, Chloe Shivers & karagan Bean 3, Destiny Zimdars 1
Assists: Jaidyn Collins 17, Chloe Shivers 11
Aces: Chloe Shivers 4, Jocee Pettyjohn 3, Jaidyn Collins 2
Kill Blocks: Karagan Bean 2, Addy Rebmann 2, Ciaria Keeney 1
Digs: Chloe Shivers 15, Jocee Pettyjohn 12, Myah Hough 9, Addy Rebmann 8