TARKIO, Mo. — Nodaway-Holt was one of the best Class 1 volleyball teams in northwest Missouri by the end of the season. Unfortunately, they found themselves paired in on the same side of the district tournament bracket with another of those top teams, East Atchison.
The Trojans (13-13-1) ended the season playing their best ball and capped the season with a victory over District 16 second-seed Rock Port, but their early-season struggles made them the four-seed despite having a better record and splitting the regular-season series with third-seeded Mound City.
Nodaway-Holt pushed the top-seeded Wolves, but East Atchison was able to overcome and win in straight-sets, 25-20, 25-19.
The Trojans got off to a fast start in first set with sophomore Shaina Culp and senior Kailey Miller each picking up kills and building a 3-0 lead. A kill and an ace by Miller kept the lead at three at 6-3.
“They were communicating, moving the ball well and digging the ball,” Nodaway-Holt coach Tobie Bohannon said. “Overall, I felt like they were in it to win it at that point and they had good energy.”
Nodaway-Holt’s lead was 10-9 when East Atchison sent junior Jaycee Graves to the service line and her jump-serve proved to be the kryptonite for the Trojans. Graves rattled off six-straight points to give the Wolves a 15-11 lead.
“The jump serves were definitely our nemesis,” Bohannon said. “Our serves, we had several in the net. On our part, if we would have gotten our serves in, it my have been a more equal game. (East Atchison) definitely served well.”
Nodaway-Holt senior Amanda Bohannon ended the run with a kill. The teams traded points until a block by Culp and an ace by Miller brought the Trojans within 17-16.
With the score 18-17, East Atchison was able to go on a 6-1 run to get some breathing room and were able to get a 25-20 victory.
The Trojans got off to a strong start in the second set with an Amanda Bohannon kill to take a 5-3 lead.
East Atchison’s serve proved too much for Nodaway-Holt with a 16-3 run by the Wolves with junior Jesse Graves, Jaycee Graves and sophomore Brynnan Poppa reach going on serving runs.
Facing a 19-8 deficient, the Trojans kept coming and two-straight kills by Culp got the lead down to 21-13. An ace by Culp and an Amanda Bohannon kill brought the team back within 22-17.
“That is like a brand-new team that we have had this year towards the end of the season,” Tobie Bohannon said of the team’s resiliency. “That is what we’ve been able to do. I’m proud of the girls for continuing to work hard. They lifted each other up when they were getting frustrated.”
The Trojans ran out of time though and the Wolves hung on for a 25-19 second-set win. East Atchison advanced to the district final where they faced Rock Port, who rolled to a straight-set semifinal win over Mound City. Rock Port topped East Atchison 25-16 and 25-21 to win the district title.
Wednesday marked the end of the volleyball careers for Nodaway-Holt seniors Amanda Bohannon, Day and Miller.
“They have all really come together this year and worked hard,” Tobie Bohannon said. “We’ve had a lot of improvement in a lot of different areas and I felt like they were all great leaders this year. We will miss them.”
The Trojans will go into next season will plenty of high expectations going into next season with Kloe Jenkins, Halle Clement, Emma Bohannon and Culp all returning.
“We definitely have some good talent coming up and some good athletes,” Tobie Bohannon said. “Hopefully we will just keep building on those fundamentals and keep working hard.”