Lee’s Summit West won its third straight district title Oct. 25 after downing Raymore-Peculiar 25-15, 25-15 at Lee’s Summit High School.
The Titan celebration was subdued, as if they expected to win and have their sights set on a possible state final rematch against the team that beat them for the state title last year, undefeated Lafayette.
“We had one mission, and it was to win the district championship and I thought we took a business-like approach and I liked that from our team,” Titans’ head coach Lori Hanaway said. “They just know how to win and they know to get to the next level you have to win right here. I like that resolve in them.”
The Titans, 30-4, used superior inside play and net presence to win the Class 4 District 13 championship and Ray-Pec finished runner-up for the second year in a row.
Taylor Sandbothe led the Titan attack with 13 of the team’s 33 kills.
“She’s the best player in Kansas City, I think,” Hanaway said. “She elevates, and when we give her the ball, it’s hard to defend her, so I was happy with the way she played.”
Sandbothe also contributed four blocks. Madi Mosier added 11 kills and two blocks.
“We knew we were going to be facing a very, very good team,” Ray-Pec head coach Katie Dowden said. “Lee’s Summit West has been ranked in the state all season long, so there’s no question that they’re a very tough team to play. They have two very, very athletic middles, so we knew we would be in for a fight.”
Cheyanne Lyons had 15 kills and 10 digs for Ray-Pec and Meghan Maher tallied 19 assists.
In order for Ray-Pec to have a chance against the top seed of the district, they needed to come out strong, and they did. The Panthers took an early 4-1 lead in the first game, but the Titans battled back.
At a 7-7 deadlock, LSW took over by scoring the next seven points started by four straight Panther errors.
“When you get to this point in the season, it’s hard not to play tight when you’re expected to win,” Hanaway said. “That’s something that we’ve got to talk a lot about and the thing that I like, we didn’t stay down. We were down for a few moments and we came right back.”
Two Sandbothe blocks sandwiching a Kailin Cordes ace pushed the lead to 20-11 and Bailey Katzfey capped off the first game with an ace for a 25-15 win.
The Titans wouldn’t repeat going down early, instead, garnered a 4-1 lead of their own off four powerful Sandbothe kills. Ray-Pec kept it close at 13-9 before the Titans pulled away again. Katzfey’s athletic tip over the net found the floor and started a 7-1 run that put the game, and match, out of reach.
“We go out, we fight every match,” Dowden said. “The score, I don’t think, reflected how hard we fought, but I’m proud of my team.”
Ray-Pec ended its season with a 13-19-1 record.