BJHS eighth graders win volleyball tournament
A stellar serving performance propelled Baldwin Junior High School’s eighth grade varsity volleyball team to the Eudora Tournament title over the weekend.
The Bulldogs (10-2) connected on 184 of 196 serves for a season-high mark of 94 percent, which included 98 percent performances in the first two matches of pool play.
“I knew that we were serving well, but I had no idea it was that good until I figured up the numbers Saturday night,” coach Brenda Shawley said. “At the beginning of the season we’ve had a goal to get up in the 90’s as a team. I was super excited for the kids and how well they performed all day.”
The Bulldogs opened up pool play against Tonganoxie and won 25-13, 25-8. BJHS went 41 of 42 serving and was led by Bella Villaca’s four aces. Morgan Lober recorded six kills, while Morgan Linder had five kills. Baldwin defeated its next opponent, the Xavier Mustangs, 25-10, 25-8. Madeline McCrary and Villaca had three aces apiece.
In the last match of pool play BJHS faced a scrappy Paola team who, like the Bulldogs, had won their first two matches. With McCrary leading the way with a 14 for 14 performance at the service line, Baldwin won 25-14, 25-20 and secured a spot in the championship match against host team Eudora.
“We’d played Eudora last Monday, so each team knew a lot about one another going into the championship match,” Shawley said. “Both squads were playing really good volleyball and I was excited to get the match underway.”
Baldwin jumped out to a 25-12 win in the first game, but Eudora rallied and won the second, 25-21.
“We came out a little flat in the second set,” Hailey Cope said. “So we decided to come together as a team, talk louder and finish the match strong.”
The Bulldogs did just that and emerged with a 15-10 victory. In the championship match, Jenna Irey went 17 of 18 at the service line and Linder put down five kills.
Next action for the Bulldogs is Monday with the eighth grade hosting Ottawa and the seventh graders playing at Paola.