Volleyball ‘Cats reflect on 2023 season

By Theo Tate
Posted 11/9/23

The Montgomery County volleyball team didn’t celebrate another victory over Tolton Catholic in district tournament play this year.

The Wildcats’ 2023 season ended with a three-game …

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Volleyball ‘Cats reflect on 2023 season


The Montgomery County volleyball team didn’t celebrate another victory over Tolton Catholic in district tournament play this year.

The Wildcats’ 2023 season ended with a three-game loss to the Trailblazers in a Class 2, District 6 semifinal match on Oct. 19 at Hermann, preventing them from having a rematch with Hermann in the district finals. Last year, MCHS defeated Tolton Catholic in a thrilling, five-game district semifinal match at home.

“I just really hoped that they would make it back to the championship (match) against Hermann because they wanted another chance against them,” MCHS coach Rachel Leu said.

Despite the loss, the Wildcats turned in another outstanding season, winning their sixth straight Eastern Missouri Conference championship and going 12-12-4 after finishing with losing records the last two years.
MCHS will lose seniors Claire Cobb, Morgan Koch, Madi Polston, Ellie Robinson and Olivia Shaw to graduation, but will bring back juniors Ava Rakers, Avery Leu and Alexis Ramo next year.

“Half of our lineup has (varsity) experience,” Rachel Leu said. “They sat on the bench all of their sophomore year and played significant roles in their junior year, so I do feel they are prepared. So now, it’s just a matter of filling some of the big holes the seniors leave behind with them graduating.”

After starting their season on Aug. 29 with a road loss to Hermann, the Wildcats won their next four matches. They beat Wright City, Bowling Green and North Callaway twice in EMO play to win the conference title and had wins over Calvary Lutheran, Mexico, Hallsville, New Haven, St. Louis Christian Academy and Centralia. MCHS clinched a .500 season with the win over Calvary Lutheran in the district quarterfinals on Oct. 17.
Shaw recorded a team-high 304 kills. She finished with over 750 kills for her high school career, breaking a school mark. Shaw earned first-team all-district honors.

Robinson was also named on the all-district first team after recording 554 assists as a setter. She finished with 817 assists for her career.
Koch received second-team all-district notice after finishing with 86 kills and 182 digs, Cobb finished with 96 kills and Polston served 47 aces.
Ramo finished with 98 kills and 32 blocks, Rakers had 112 service points and Avery Leu recorded 143 digs.

The Wildcats now have 12 EMO championships in their history. They also won six straight titles from 1988-1993.

The MCHS junior varsity team finished 3-12. Freshmen Aubrey Janes, Khloe Kribbs, Dakota Marion, Megan Pierson, Sarah Waters, Mariah Fish, Reaghan Hemeyer and Addison Brower and sophomores Ivy Davis, Lucy Steward, Ruby Cox and Jada Kroner make up the squad.

“I’m extremely proud of how the girls played,” said Carli Bleyle, who wrapped up her first year as JV coach. “When it comes to JV, you look more for improvement and growth than an overall season record. The goal is to prepare the girls for varsity and a faster type of play than they were used to in middle school. I’m excited to see where next year takes us with these young girls.”

The Montgomery County Middle School eighth-grade team finished 7-3 after starting off 6-0. The players were Brenna Gregory, Harper Monsen, Allie Johnson, Dakota Shipley, Emma Cobb, Keira and Mieka Ray-Wise, Baya Hoffmann, Addy Schroer and Abbigail Tucker were the players. MCMS finished second in the Wright City Tournament and third in the Warrenton Tournament.

“The eighth grade girls were resilient especially from having two different coaches their middle school career,” first-year eighth-grade coach Karlie Holligan said. “They came to practice every day ready to work hard and improve. I now have six of my 10 girls playing in club volleyball over the winter to learn from other coaches, compete at a higher competitive level and better their physical fitness and athleticism. Overall, the play time and exposure will help them as well.”

The seventh-grade team included Kayleigh Testerman, Emilia Shaw, Trinity Sutton, Kayli Conley, Anna Johnson, Jacquelynne Hans, Ava Rhodes, Maliyah Lewis and Alyssa Davis and was coached by Caroline Fudge. The squad finished 1-2 in the Montgomery County Seventh-Grade Classic.


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