JACKSON, Mo. – Jesse Miller proved clutch in the third set while helping the Farmington volleyball team regain its place atop Class 4, District 1 during her sophomore season.
Fast forward two years, and the Knights are celebrating a third consecutive title and 26th all-time with an accomplished senior class that rose to the occasion on Wednesday night.
Head coach Julie Ward gambled on significant lineup changes with only a few days for her players to become acclimated. They responded well by ousting host and top seed Jackson 25-23, 25-17.
Miller recorded her team-leading eighth kill to punctuate the win, and Farmington (28-6-1) avenged a deflating home loss to the Indians that occurred three weeks ago.
The Knights produced a pivotal 7-0 scoring run during each stanza, served by setter Sarah Bauer and Miller, and will host Cor Jesu in the Class 4 state sectional round on Saturday.
Kaylee Wooldridge combined with Lauren Bishop and Jordyn Harris on separate double blocks while helping Farmington surge ahead 9-3 in game two.
Jackson (26-9-2) suffered a flurry of hitting and returning errors, and faced a maximum deficit of 18-9. Miller earned a block before stepping back to serve an ace that restored a 20-11 margin.
Hannah Shinn brought the Indians within 22-16 on a kill, but a net violation and subsequent ace from Bauer put Farmington on the cusp of celebration.
Blair Busenbark equaled Harris with five kills, and provided two blocks with six digs on defense for the Knights. Bauer finished with 12 assists, 11 points and five digs.
With plenty of depth at the outside hitter positions, senior Macey Pauls was stationed at libero for the first time this season, and collected a team-high eight digs.
She kept a potential tying spike off the floor after Jackson erased two game points in the opening set, and Harris knocked down the clinching kill two touches later.
Game one was tied on six occasions, and the Indians jumped in front 12-10 on a kill from Mackenzie Stoner. But they would drop the next seven points to Farmington.
Busenbark spurred the momentum swing by spiking down a return pass and getting a clean block on the next rally. Miller stuffed another attack, and tipped for a score to create a 17-12 lead.
Jackson chipped away to draw within a single point three separate times. Busenbark countered a Shinn kill with one from the back row, and Harris connected from the middle next at 22-19.
The lone service error of game one slowed the Indians moments later, and a free ball landed safely on their side of the net for another costly mistake.
Miller shared team-high honors with eight digs and 11 points while dishing out 10 assists in a strong all-around effort.
Farmington 2, Hillsboro 1
JACKSON, Mo. – Farmington stormed back from a ragged opening set to overtake Hillsboro 19-25, 25-18, 25-17 in earlier semifinal action.
Jesse Miller compiled 14 kills, 14 assists and six digs even though attacking opportunities were limited early. The Knights’ first three points of game two were sent down by the senior standout.
Blair Busenbark totaled 12 kills with 14 digs, and Jordyn Harris landed seven kills. Farmington found its offensive groove while building a 13-7 advantage on two Busenbark kills in game two.
Hillsboro got two aces from Halle Roland in response, but Miller answered with a smash, cleared an errant set for another scoring touch, and added two more kills before moving off the front row.
Sarah Bauer finished with 19 assists, and Macey Pauls registered 15 points with 11 digs at libero. Macy Embry provided 12 points, and Kaylee Wooldridge chipped in six digs plus an ace on match point.
Harris drilled a line kill later in game two, and Embry followed with an ace to make it 21-15. Harris added two more scoring spikes, and Busenbark crushed a quick set to present game point.
Busenbark terminated from the back row after Hillsboro lost two rallies on a lifting call and failed clearing try, and Miller spiked to the floor following a timeout for an 18-11 Farmington lead in game three.
Shea Luby cut the Hillsboro deficit to 19-15, but her squad would not draw closer as the Knights secured the next four points to help seal the outcome.
A double block by Busenbark and Harris gave Farmington its only lead of game one at 18-17. The Lady Hawks claimed eight of the next nine points, fueled their early bid for a seeding upset.