The Festus eighth grade volleyball team roared through four sets on Thursday and came away champions at the conference tournament held at Windsor Middle School.
In the semifinal game, the Tigers paired up with Perryville. Festus had little trouble disposing of the Pirates, winning 25-15, 25-7.
Devin Younger led the way with nine aces, while Maddie McHawes and Ella Boyer added four and three respectively. Younger added two kills, while Mackenzie Welsh had a solo block.
“It took us a while to get out of the gate,” said head coach Katie Drury. “The first set was intense because we had a lot of unforced errors. The girls turned it around quickly and started making some smart plays.”
The Tigers advanced to the championship match against the host Windsor Owls. Festus held on for a 25-21 win in the first set, and then closed things out with authority, taking the second set 25-14.
Kinsey Benack and Younger were offensive weapons with five and four kills each. Younger again served well, accumulating five aces, while Paige Wilkinson added three aces. “Paige served at least six points in a row to give us the lead in the first set,” commented Drury.
Drury also pointed out that Wilkinson and Boyer both had excellent defensive play in the match. “Our defense in general was something our team was complimented on quite often,” noted Drury. “We made at least four saves throughout the night that seemed impossible. It’s really fun to watch them work so hard and never give up on a ball.”
Drury’s final thoughts centered around the team concept. “I could not be more proud of the girls. The girls on the bench were very supportive and into the game. I was blessed to be their coach. They’ll always hold a special place in my heart, and I will continue to watch them grow into beautiful young women that happen to be awesome volleyball players. They have set the standard high.”
The Tigers finished the season with a 12-2-2 record.