Jaguars will not advance in state play

Alana Flinn, sports editor

The Jaguar volleyball team lost its first two matches at the 5A state tournament and will not advance to Saturday’s semi-final action. The team lost two matches to the Newton High School Railers and the Shawnee Heights Thunderbirds on Friday, Oct. 26.


The third seed Jaguars lost their first match to the sixth seed Newton High School Railers.


In the first set, the Jaguars were unable to close an early eight point gap. The Jaguars were forced to call their first timeout when the score became 15-7, Railers. Play resumed and junior hitters Molly Oshinski and Taylor Cowan contributed to a gain of six points with their kills. The Jaguars earned their last point of the first match on a block, but the Railers won the first set with a final kill to end with a score of 25-15.


The Jaguars started the second match with a 4-0 lead. The Railers recovered and brought the score to 4-4, until junior middle hitter Gabrielle Fangman had two kills in a row, bringing the score to 6-4, Jaguars. The Jaguars were able to gain several more points by blocking the Railers and several kills by Cowan and Oshinski. After several exchanges of play, the Railers took a timeout with a score of 22-19, Jaguars. The score became tied several times after that until Fangman hit the Railers free ball to win the set, 28-26.


In set 3, the Railers blocking allowed them to keep a four point lead until they served out of bounds to bring the score to 8-5, Railers. Cowan and Oshinski added five points with their kills and blocking, bringing the score to 10-8.  The Jaguars were able to add seven more points with kills by Fangman and Crispin, but the Railers won the set and the match, 25-17.


Senior libero Molly Kelley said that the first match was very frustrating.


“It’s as if it wasn’t our team out there,” Kelley said. “I knew we could have played better, but it’s behind us now and we have to focus on the next game.”


After a break, the team took the court against the Shawnee Heights Thunderbirds.


The Thunderbirds took the lead at first, but the Jaguars recovered the points to tie up the first match at 9-9 and then take the lead to 11-9. After several missed back row hits, the Jaguars fell behind with a score 19-15. After a few more point conversions, Cowan had a kill that put the score at 20-17, Thunderbirds. The Jaguars are able to gain a few more points, but the Thunderbirds won the first set, 25-19.


The second match began with a kill by Fangman. The teams followed point range closely with one another, with a tie being held at 14-14. The Thunderbirds gained four points on four blocks in a row. Oshinski won the first point after that with a kill, bringing the score to 19-15, Thunderbirds. Crispin gained another point with an ace and a few more points were earned by the Jaguars, but the Thunderbirds finished the set and the match 25-19.


Junior setter Hannah Billings said that this run at state will just add to the motivation of the team next year.


“We didn’t play to our full potential,” Billings said. “But next year…next year we’ll work really hard to make it here again.”


Stay tuned for more photos from Friday’s action.

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