Lady ‘Cats volleyball third in State

                                                                                                                                                                                                             Photo by Shari Harris
The 2019 Licking High School Volleyball team with their Third Place Plaque. Front row from left: Maggie Cline, Abagail Moncrief, Ashley Creek, Abby Cole, Maddy Cole, and Mgr. Anjeni Morrell. Back row from left: Head Coach Ashley Martin, Winter Murray, Kaida Cook, Abigail Sullins, Kylie Taylor, Maci Sparks, Kimrey Krewson, Kamryn Barnes, Asst. Coach Kaitlyn Baker and Mgr. Cadrian Hutsell.
Shari Harris

Nine a.m. Saturday was an early start for Licking in the Missouri Class 2 finals at Cape Girardeau. But the Lady ‘Cats were ready for the St. Paul Lutheran Saints and ready to claim the third place title.
                                                  Photo by Shari Harris
Abagail Moncrief blocks this attempt
 from St. Paul to increase the score
 to 5-2 in the first set Saturday.

Licking was able to build on their lead throughout the first set, with a five point lead, 11-6, when the Saints used their first time out. But the Saints were never able to close the gap and the Lady ‘Cats won handily, 25-13.
                                                                             Photo by Shari Harris
It’s celebration time! Licking won the point
 to win the match, 25-19 in the second set.

The second set was more of a contest, with St. Paul Lutheran and Licking alternating the lead several times early. The Lady ‘Cats took the game into their hands at the score of 8-8 and gradually developed a lead, increasing it point by point, to win the second set and match, 25-19.

                                      Photo by Shari Harris
Kamryn Barnes moves the score 
to 13-11 with this kill in 
the second set Saturday.

                                                                                                                Photo by Shari Harris
One set down, one to go, Saturday
 in the 3rd/4th place match.

                                   Photo by Shari Harris
Abagail Moncrief tips the ball for 
this kill, 13-8 in the first set.

Abagail Moncrief came to play and her six kills and four solo blocks were instrumental in the win, with 10 points earned. Fellow senior Abby Cole also racked up six kills and 14 assists and had six points attributed to her. Junior Kamryn Barnes and senior Maddy Cole had four kills each, with both important defensively with seven and five digs respectively and with Barnes scoring a serving ace. They were credited with five and four points respectively. Sophomore Kylie Taylor led the back row defense with 10 digs and added two serving aces. Seniors Maggie Cline and Ashley Creek figured prominently in the win. Cline had a serving ace and two solo blocks, earning three points for the Lady ‘Cats. Creek also had a serving ace and five digs.
                                                       Photo by Shari Harris
Abagail Moncrief and Abby Cole 
protect the net and score 
with this block, advancing the 
score to 17-11 in the second set.

Friday’s round robin play was a struggle for Licking. The morning started with a nine a.m. match against Hermann. Grace Winkelmann, a 5’9” Junior Bearcat, racked up 13 kills and an ace for 14 points against Licking in Hermann’s 25-17 and 25-9 wins.
Next Licking faced St. Pius X (Festus). The momentum was definitely still rolling in St. Pius X’s favor after their two set wins over St. Paul Lutheran. Kennedy Lane and Caly Otec both had big games against the Lady ‘Cats, with 16 and 11.5 points respectively. Final scores were: St. Pius X over Licking, 25-21 and 25-17. Hermann defeated St. Pius X Saturday to determine first and second place in the state.
The final match pitted two teams against each other that had both suffered losses in four of four sets for the day. Licking and St. Paul Lutheran faced off and the “never say die” Lady ‘Cats picked themselves up from their previous losses and overpowered the Saints, 25-22 and 25-19. Kamryn Barnes led scoring with 11 points but it was definitely a team effort that brought them back to win.
The stats are a matter of record. What was experienced by the team and their fans will always be a matter of memory and legacy. All players involved were of equal importance, with the team working together to back each other up, to step up and make the plays when needed. Both players and coaches alluded to the key of their success being the team working together to support each other, be there for each other and cheer each other on.
The Lady ‘Cats improved throughout their season, becoming more consistent in their attacks and in receiving the ball. One example of the players’ improvement was senior Ashley Creek. Creek’s importance at the net with kills, blocks and digs was evident in the final weeks of play. When asked what made it possible for her to step up her level of play, Creek stated, “my teammates cheering me on.” Another was sophomore Kylie Taylor, who was already impressive with the digs she accomplished. In the State semifinals and finals, Taylor had five serving aces, and fans had begun to see an occasional offensive attack play from her. Taylor said, “(I’m) definitely playing at a higher level. The team depends on me more as a leader.”

The Lady Wildcats should be proud of their accomplishments: Returning to the state final four after 40 years, a 32-10 team record, and most importantly, the creation of a true team – one that cares for the successes of each individual as much as for the success of the whole.

                                                                                                                                                                                                             Photo by Shari Harris
Players receive their medals after their win. 

Reactions from the Lady ‘Cats
By Shari Harris

Q: How do you feel after this win?
Abagail Moncrief: “Great. I’m excited that we got this far.”
Maddy Cole: “Ecstatic. This is what we’ve been going for our whole high school career.”
Abby Cole: “It’s really special because it is our senior year. All year, all we talked about is ‘We’re going to State.’”
Photo by Shari Harris
Seniors hold the Third Place Class 2 State Volleyball plaque.
Ashley Creek: “I’m just really happy that we could pull it off.”
Maggie Cline: “It’s been a great season. Overall I’m very glad we got where we did. I’m very blessed.”
Kylie Taylor: “I’m sad that this year’s over.”

Q: What was the key to your success this year?
Coach Ashley Martin: “Our biggest goal was to have a love for one another, first and foremost. You can’t win a game alone.”
Asst. Coach Kaitlyn Baker: “When you love each other genuinely, from the heart, it will show on the court.”
Maggie Cline: “Our coaches always knew what to say, very inspirational.”
Kamryn Barnes: “Being excited, being there for each other.”
Maddy Cole: “We communicated better this year, had more drive.”

Q: Was there anything different today?
Abagail Moncrief: “Energy could have been higher (yesterday).”

Q: What do you think the future holds?
Coach Ashley Martin: “I’ve got big shoes to fill from here on out. We exceeded a lot of people’s expectations this year. I’m proud they responded to me the way they did.”
Kamryn Barnes: “We will have to do a lot of work next year. I believe we can come back.”
Kylie Taylor: “I’m excited for next year. We’re going to be back.”



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