It had been nearly three weeks since the Jefferson City Lady Jays last took the court for a volleyball match.
In other words, the Lady Jays practically went through a second round of preseason practices leading up to Monday’s match against St. Francis Borgia at Fleming Fieldhouse.
“It felt like it was a three-week preseason,” Lady Jays coach Lisa Hoffmeyer said after a 19-25, 14-25, 17-25 loss to Borgia. “It was a tough turn-around.
“I feel like our kids knew these kind of challenges were going to be coming our way this season. We’re hopefully mentally prepared for the moment.”
Making it more difficult was coming back from a long layoff and facing the defending Class 3 state champion, and a team that has moved up to Class 5 this season due to the new championship factor.
“We had a lot of long rallies, and that’s what we talked about in the locker room before our game tonight,” Hoffmeyer said. “We were going to have to outlast them.”
Jefferson City won a few of those early, lengthy volleys. Paige Reeser recorded a kill on one of those volleys to cut the Borgia lead to 16-11 in the first set. Ada Humphrey finished another long volley with a kill, cutting the deficit to five again at 21-16.
“It was one of those ‘outwork, outhustle’ kind of nights, keep the ball alive and hope we can outlast them defensively,” Hoffmeyer said.
The Lady Jays didn’t grab their first lead of the night until the first point in the second set. They led again at 2-1, but Borgia answered with five straight points to take the lead for good.
Jefferson City also trailed for all but the first four points of the third set.
Borgia (16-2-2) had several hard hitters on the front line. Ella Brinkmann had a team-high 17 kills in the match, followed by Caroline Glastetter with 12 kills. Lynsey Batson added eight kills.
But the Lady Jays recorded numerous digs on tough plays to keep Borgia from dominating the match. Reeser, Jordan Niermeyer and Sydney Vogt each had three digs in the third set.
“Our back row defense did a wonderful job,” Hoffmeyer said.
Humphrey led the Lady Jays with four kills, while Claire Stegeman added three kills. Reeser tallied seven assists.
Hoffmeyer said three JV players had been promoted to the varsity roster ahead of Monday’s match.
“There were obviously some things we could have executed better,” she said. “I felt like our kids showed up, played tough and competed. Ultimately, their offense was just a little bit faster than we were defensively.”
Jefferson City (4-6-1) will have a much shorter turn-around before its next match, which is today at Capital City. The C team and JV matches start at 5:30 p.m., with the varsity to follow at 6:45 p.m.
This will be the first meeting between the Lady Jays and the Lady Cavaliers, whose coaching staffs are quite familiar with each other. Capital City head coach Kelsey Vogler and assistant coach Jaime Marshall were previously on the Lady Jays’ coaching staff.
“I think both of us being short a few kids will make things even more interesting, too,” Hoffmeyer said. ” I think it’ll be a good one.”
In Tuesday’s JV match, Jefferson City defeated Borgia 25-20, 25-19 to improve to 4-2.
Izabell Johnston had a team-high seven kills for the Lady Jays, while Jada Murray had five kills and four digs. Brianna Avey added a team-best six assists.
Jefferson City dropped the freshman match 10-25, 12-25.
Lauryn Heisler had three kills for the Lady Jays (5-4-1) and Kadence Kiesling finished with six assists and five digs.