MJHS Lady Trojans volleyball team manager
The Massac Junior High School (MJHS) Lady Trojan volleyball team has concluded their season with another undefeated state championship title.
After their 2013 state title and perfect 28-0 season, MJHS had hopes of making it back to the state tournament, but knew it was a tall order considering they only had one starter returning from the previous season. But with another large and energetic group of eighth-graders, the Lady Trojans had only perfection on their mind.
In Saturday’s state tournament, the Lady Trojans played their first game against the largest school in the Southern Illinois Junior High School Athletic Association (SIJHSAA), Collinsville.
Despite a closely contested match by both teams, MJHS was able to overcome the Lady Trail-Blazers’ athleticism winning 25-15, 18-25, and 15-10. In the win, MJHS was largely fueled by the Lady Trojan’s pep crowd — a horde of red, white, and blue bandanas, facepaint and shirts. The fans were deafening with their countless cheers for the Lady Trojans.
Shortly after this victory, the girls played in the semi-final against Wesclin. With the first set knotted at 22 a piece, MJHS’ middle hitter Emily Griffith was forced to the sidelines by a strained back muscle. With little time for changes, MJHS dropped the set 22-25.
For the remainder of the match, seventh-grader Paige Box had to step in for Griffith, giving her team a lift as they went on to win the next two sets 25-12, and 15-3. Asked about the last-minute change, Box said: “I was excited to get up and play with the older girls!”
Following this win, MJHS had a short break before competing in the finals against the Murphysboro Lady Blue Devils.
The girls were nervous but excited to get back into the championship game, but by the end of the first set, they were a well-oiled machine throwing kills, blocks and aces at the Lady Blue Devils and picking up a number of point-saving digs. The ending set scores were 25-12 and 25-17.
On the day, MJHS’ Aubrey Biggers had an amazing 30 kills. She was followed by Bailey Cissell with 17 kills, and Alayna Reed with seven kills and six blocks. Brooke Stepter picked up 14 digs. Bailey Duckworth was perfect from the service line going 26/26, and Aurora Bass was 10/12 serving. Box also pitched in with 11 service points. Team captain and setter Ellie Weber amassed a remarkable 48 assists. Mya Draffen and Taylor Williams also contributed defensively throughout the day.
To handle her nerves during the game, Weber said she took two deep breaths and shook it out.
The girls were all ecstatic for their victory, and after the medals and trophy were presented, were tackled by all of their thrilled fans. The Lady Trojans even received a police and fire truck escort home once they entered Massac County, which included a mess of screaming, yelling, and chanting from the girls. Each of them was thrilled to receive yet another undefeated state championship for their school and another trophy to put right next to all the others they had this season. They had all finally achieved their relentless pursuit of perfection this season.