'Jackets place second at Branson Tournament in Silver Bracket

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Pictured above are members of the freshman, junior varsity and varsity volleyball team. The varsity team competed at the Branson Tournament over the weekend, while the junior varsity and freshman squads competed at the Hillcrest Tournament.


BRANSON — The Lebanon volleyball team finished second in the Silver Bracket championship on Saturday at the Branson Invitational.

The ‘Jackets went 1-1-1 in their pool play, defeating Hollister, losing to Northland Christian and splitting with Fort Zumwalt West. LHS would advance to the Silver Bracket, defeating Mt. Vernon and Rockwood Summit in three sets.

The win over Rockwood Summit set up a championship match against Lee’s Summit West, where the ‘Jackets would fall in three sets, 25-21, 19-25, 25-23.

In the championship match, Lebanon (5-2-1) was led by junior Taylor Bowling with 17 assists. Senior Jazzlyn Wells had 15 digs, junior Cori Johnson had three aces, and two blocks and junior Katie Esther led LHS with nine kills.

Lebanon head coach Jenny Collins said she was disappointed in her team’s effort during pool play.

“We started off the morning in pool play with a match against the Class 1A 2016 state champion,” Collins said about Northland Christian. “They only lost two seniors from their roster last season. They were fundamentally sound, and their middle hitters were tough and ran an offense allowing them to run all across the net.

“While they were solid in all aspects, I was disappointed in our efforts. When we take the floor, I expect us to compete; I expect us to control the things we can on our side and instead I felt we lacked that competitor drive.”

Collins said that the matchups with Ft. Zumwalt West and Hollister went better, but while their efforts improved from the first match of the day Lebanon found themselves falling short of the Gold Bracket and advanced on to the Silver Bracket.

Lebanon posted a hard fought 20-25, 25-16, 25-13 win over Mount Vernon in the opening round of bracket play and would defeat Rockwood Summit in three sets, 23-25, 31-29, 25-21. With the win, LHS would advance to the championship match, falling in three sets to Lee’s Summit.

Collins said during bracket play that she saw the team that presented themselves last week, posting wins over Branson and Marshfield. “We showed determination and fight through the next two matches and the never-give up attitude and then through this had the opportunity to play for the championship of the silver bracket,” Collins said. “I am very proud of the team that showed up during the bracket play.  We played three grueling three Set matches back-to-back-to-back for a combined almost five hours of play. 

“We were challenged physically and mentally and yet managed to stay focused and fight for every point.”

Collins said that throughout the day, Lebanon focused on taking one play at a time and always focusing on the next ball ahead.

“We continue to work on our ball control, first touch and how we play when we are out of system,” Collins said.  “Each game we play, we continue to do a better job of all of these things, and the girls are starting to become more comfortable in their roles and in the positions they are playing.”

Lebanon had a big day from Wells, according to Collins.
“We had many contributors to our success for the day and statistically had several leaders in each category,” Collins said. “(Jazzlyn) was the heart of our defense and did an excellent job of keeping tough balls in play.  Her positivity is infectious, and her passion for the game is unmatched.  When things get tough, Jazzy finds a way to rally her teammates.”

LHS was slated to be back in action Tuesday at home against Battle and will host Joplin on Thursday with freshman beginning at 4:30 p.m.

“Playing in a 24 team tournament early gives us time to get a lot of game play in against a variety of very good competition before conference matches get started,” Collins said. “However, playing so many back-to-back matches don’t allow for recovery time, and we have several with sore shoulders and bruised bodies.

“I’m hoping the two days of recovery is enough as we face both Battle and Joplin next week on our home court and we need everyone healthy.”

The Lebanon junior varsity team (4-3) took second place on Saturday at the Hillcrest Slamfest in Springfield. LHS defeated Joplin, Hillcrest and Mt. Grove in pool play.

The ‘Jackets defeated Carthage in bracket play before falling to Ozark in three sets during the championship match.
The freshman team also competed at the tournament, defeating Central and dropping matches to Willard and Ozark.


The Lebanon Daily Record

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