Lee’s Summit West volleyball coach Jennifer Morgan wants to see her Titans play fearlessly.
Her players are far from timid, but she knows they’re at their best when their confidence matches their talent — and West was definitely at its best Wednesday night.
The Titans are the Class 4, District 13 champions after knocking off Lee’s Summit 25-17, 23-25, 25-20 in a back-and-forth final at Raymore-Peculiar.
It’s the first district title for West (18-11-2) since 2014 and puts the Titans in a Class 4 sectional against Liberty (21-7-2) at 2 p.m. on Saturday at Park Hill South.
The winner faces the winner of Park Hill South versus St. Teresa’s Academy in the quarterfinals at 4 p.m.
Confidence had been a point of emphasis lately for Morgan, especially because the Titans had won only one of their last seven regular-season matches. They probably were in need of a boost as they prepared to take on Lee’s Summit (25-8-2), which beat West in two close sets on Oct. 10.
“We’ve talked about how they have to be confident in themselves — not just me telling them that they can,” Morgan said. “They have to believe that, so I think them having their confidence up was a huge factor.”
That confidence fueled a free-wheeling West offense that found open spots on the floor all night.
Sophomore Odyssey Warren tallied 17 kills, mostly on wicked shots from the outside. Junior outside hitter Erin Waltz added 11 kills and junior middle hitter Miana Wallace finished with nine.
“I think we were all just connecting a lot,” Waltz said. “We try to lift each other up. Just whenever we get a good pass and a good set, it’s pretty easy to get a kill in.”
All the Titans’ hitters benefitted from a brilliant night by senior setter Santana Lewis, who had a whopping 40 assists.
“I think they were getting comfortable and just swinging away,” Morgan said. “When you are comfortable and confident and covering each other well, you have that ability to swing away. Santana did a really good job feeding the people that were hot.”
West needed that confidence and firepower to match an equally potent Lee’s Summit attack. Claire Wagner, a junior outside hitter, had a match-high 23 kills for the Tigers.
“(Wagner) was on fire,” Lee’s Summit coach Lori Hanaway said. “She had some great hits. Odyssey on the other side matched her. It was a great battle between those two. They were just matched and going at it.”
Wagner had the upper hand early in the first set as Lee’s Summit jumped out to an 8-3 lead.
West cut the lead to 9-8 then ended the seesaw set with a 10-2 run. Warren had three kills during that decisive stretch, including the Titans’ last three points.
Wagner sparked a late 4-1 run that gave Lee’s Summit control of the second set.
The third set remained tight until Warren led West on a 6-1 run. She landed a shot down the line, found an open space at midcourt for another, and scored again with an outside kill that put the Titans ahead 22-17.
“It’s actually really hard, because Lee’s Summit has a very well-conducted block,” Warren said. “We just have to do our best to get a nice pass and a nice set, so we can carry out the hit.”
A little bit of confidence helped, too.
St. Michael’s advances
St. Michael the Archangel captured the Class 2, District 14 championship with a 23-25, 25-20, 25-19 victory against Summit Christian Academy in the final at Barstow.
St. Michael (16-14-2) will meet St. Joseph Bishop LeBlond (27-3-5) in a sectional Saturday at LeBlond.
Summit Christian ended its season with a 23-7-2 record.