BONNE TERRE – Potosi senior Paige West managed to smile through the discomfort of a toe cramp after sliding on her knees for a deflected attack that eluded her reach.
Six volleyball matches over eight hours on Saturday tested the physical stamina and mental focus of the Lady Trojans, who met each challenge with renewed motivation.
Potosi outlasted seven other teams to claim first place at the North County Invitational, despite being seeded fourth in the single-elimination championship bracket.
Junior standout Ava Robart twice pounded 16 kills in victories over Farmington and Festus, which had the best record and point differential during pool play.
West then applied the last two scoring spikes of an impressive 25-19, 25-17 triumph in the final against Fort Zumwalt North, as the Lady Trojans never entered a prolonged lull.
“Farmington was a really big win for us. We had never beaten them since I started playing in middle school,” West said. “Without our setter today, we had some different roles to fill. Overall, I think we played really well and I’m glad for how we adapted.”
After posting a win, tie and loss against three pool opponents, Potosi (9-2-1) saved its best effort for the more prominent afternoon session.
Freshman Eden Robart registered 10 kills, Ava Robart provided seven kills with seven digs, and libero Tayler Rayfield picked up eight digs in the title contest.
Ava Robart served consecutive aces, and the Lady Trojans seized command of game one at 18-8 when West reacted to a dig that drifted with a two-handed push into the opposite corner.
The top prize was earned without the services of starting setter Carsyn Yount, who attended her sister’s wedding. Freshman Adalynn Gibson filled in admirably with 25 assists.
Lily Porter tallied seven kills with eight digs, and Kaitlyn Bampton had five kills for Fort Zumwalt North.
Any execution issues the Lady Trojans encountered in their pool loss to Festus were corrected in time for a semifinal rematch that had a favorable 22-25, 25-21, 25-20 outcome.
The decisive third set stood even at 13-13 before solid defensive coverage gave Potosi an edge. Eden Robart spiked off a block for a 21-17 advantage.
Festus lost outside hitter Jersey Latham to an ankle injury during that rally, and the Lady Trojans got an ensuing kill from Layla Juliette and closing ace from Macyn McCarthy to advance.
Rylee Lawrence and Gabbi Burkard registered nine kills each for the Lady Tigers. Jessie Hawkins added 10 digs and two aces.
“We had some freshmen step up in a big way,” first-year Potosi head coach Ashley Matthews said. “We are relying on Paige, our senior leader, and the confidence of our front row players.”
West and her junior teammates halted their personal drought against Farmington as Potosi surged forward in a 25-23, 25-15 quarterfinal.
Ava Robart knocked down five kills in the second game alone, and Gibson totaled 23 assists. Eden Robart added six kills while McCarthy notched eight digs and Rayfield chipped in six more.
Farmington (5-8) finished the event 1-3 overall after beating Perryville (25-14, 25-17) and falling to both Fort Zumwalt West (25-21, 25-18) and Windsor (25-18, 25-22) in pool action.
Ava Robart and Juliette opened with a double block against the Knights, who chipped away at deficits of 10-3 and 18-12 to nearly steal game one.
Claire Hampton and Emma Anderson hustled to save errant passes, and Brynn Johnson stopped a booming spike before erasing four set points on her serve.
Potosi surrendered a free ball at 24-23, but Gibson made a dig and Juliette tipped the clinching attack before her squad bolted ahead 18-9 in game two.
Madison Mills paced Farmington with six kills and blocks, and Zoey Gerwitz landed five kills. Johnson and Aubrey Huskey brought up seven digs while Cheyenne Strohkirch and Emily Bauer each had eight assists.
North County (1-8-1) split with Potosi (21-25, 25-20) and was swept by both Festus (25-17, 25-16) and Jefferson (25-16, 25-10) in the pool before losing to Windsor (25-17, 25-13) in bracket play.
Karlie Straughan and Kenzi Price posted four kills each for the Lady Raiders in their last contest. Makaila Moore tossed in three kills, seven assists and five digs.
Dig for Life Tournament
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – Central knocked out fellow conference contenders Fredericktown and Valle Catholic on the way to placing second at the annual Dig for Life volleyball tournament Saturday.
The Lady Rebels defeated seven consecutive opponents over two days, pushing their win streak to 11 straight matches, before Advance prevailed 25-20, 24-26, 25-22 in the Red Division title match.
Blair Sitton compiled 19 kills and three solo blocks while Madison Dunn added 10 kills, 16 digs and 10 assists for Central (11-1). Avery Johnson made 21 digs, and Sydney Miles dished out 20 assists.
Central (11-1) got past Valle Catholic for the second time this season 21-25, 25-19, 25-22 during the intense semifinal. Their previous battle spanned the maximum five games.
Sitton landed a team-high 13 kills, and Dunn finished with 12 more. Miles had 23 assists, and Johnson equaled Dunn with 20 digs apiece.
Valle Catholic celebrated a milestone as pool play wrapped up Saturday morning. A victory over Cape Central marked the 850th overall for head coach Nancy Fischer.
Miles produced 14 digs and 19 assists for Central in a 25-21, 25-21 quarterfinal win over Fredericktown. Sitton notched 12 kills, and Dunn added 10 kills with 11 digs.
The featured 16-team bracket began with the Lady Rebels outlasting Bell City in a wild second game for a 25-13, 31-29 triumph.
Kelsie Politte led the defense with 13 digs, and Miles picked up 11 digs plus 17 assists. Sitton powered the attack again with 11 kills while Dunn delivered nine.
Central downed Gideon (25-12, 25-12), St. Vincent (25-19, 25-23) and Poplar Bluff (25-14, 25-19) to capture its pool before topping Cape Central (25-23, 25-22) in the challenge round.
Fredericktown emerged as the top team from its pool, and further advanced by defeating Lesterville 25-22, 25-13 and South Iron 25-20, 25-18.
The Black Division featured 42 other programs, and Bismarck concluded an exhausting 13-hour voyage as the runner-up when Leopold earned an exciting 21-25, 26-24, 26-24 victory in the final.
Bismarck (9-3-1) swept Bloomfield, Oak Ridge and North Pemiscot in pool play before splitting with New Haven, then advanced past Oak Ridge, Scott City, Bernie and Hillsboro in the bracket.
West County (6-4-1) beat Caruthersville and Clearwater, then split with Green Ridge and fell to Oak Ridge prior to bracket play. The Lady Bulldogs thwarted St. Paul 25-13, 25-13 from there, and were eliminated by Meadow Heights 25-22, 25-13.
Kingston (2-10) finished 1-5 for the tournament, picking up a 25-17, 25-20 triumph over Caruthersville with losses to Holcomb, Arcadia Valley, Bernie, Viburnum and Bunker.
WASHINGTON, Mo. – Ste. Genevieve salvaged a 26-24, 26-24 victory over Lutheran South to finish seventh at the St. Francis Borgia tournament on Saturday.
Kailynn Harmon knocked down nine kills, and Kale Clements compiled six kills with 13 digs and two service aces for the Dragons.
Sophia Huck provided 21 assists plus five digs and three kills. Emma Gegg chipped in five kills and seven digs, and Emme Browne served two aces while making five digs.
Joleigh Parker equaled Abby Boyer and Gegg with seven digs, and contributed three kills with five assists to the offense.
Ste. Genevieve (3-6) was defeated in three pool matches by Borgia (25-22, 26-24), Union (25-18, 25-21) and Timberland (25-22, 25-20)