Panthers taken down in finals

Special to the DemocratNovember 8, 2013 

It took less than 40 minutes.

Raymore-Peculiar ran into what might be considered the equivalent of a volleyball buzz saw when it went up against Lee’s Summit West in the championship of the Class 4, District 13 championship Oct. 30 at Ray-Pec High School.

The Titans, in what head coach Lori Hanaway called an efficient performance, made quick work of the Panthers in two sets 25-11, 25-12 to move on to the sectional round.

“We talked a lot this year about being efficient,” Hanaway said. “Our strength is our ball control. When we have good ball control, we can get our offense going. We talked a lot about taking care of points, taking care of what we can control, and I thought they did an outstanding job of that tonight.”

The key in both sets was two long runs and the dominant net play of Carlissa May and Nicole Fantauzzi.

In the first set, Bailey Katzfey reeled off nine straight points off serves to help take control of the set and then eventually put it away.

In the second set, it was May on a 5-0 run and Lydia Hunter on a 6-0 run that helped pull the Titans ahead and lead them to victory.

“They are a seasoned team,” Ray-Pec head coach Katie Dowden said of Lee’s Summit West. “They are an experienced team, and they have a lot of experience advancing deep into the state tournament. There are no surprises with them. For a team like mine, it’s all pretty much new players for the most part on varsity, and that gives them the experience they need.”

May, a junior outside hitter, had 14 kills in the match with 10 coming in the second set.

“I always come in with a mindset that I want to get as many kills as I can and help my team out by getting kills, and my coach tells me to be aggressive, so that’s what I do,” May said. “They (Ray-Pec) played really hard against us and we just tried to go out and minimize our mistakes.”

May’s play will be key for the Titans if they are to advance through sectionals and on to the state semifinals.

“She’s hard to stop,” Hanaway said. “Her vertical is awesome, and she’s got a heavy swing. She really puts some velocity behind that ball. When our offense is working the way it’s supposed to be, we get her singled on one blocker and then it’s almost always a point for us. She’s just explosive and works really hard so I’m glad to see her have so much success.”

Throughout the match, the Panthers never could find a rhythm and never could string together more than three points in a row.

It was the final game for Ray-Pec seniors Paige Dosch, Abby Goulding and Katie Newton as they end the season with a 13-19 record.

“They’ve done a great job for us,” Dowden said. “They’re not the kind of people who are going to drive the bus as far as screaming and yelling and carrying on. Their leadership is more by example. They’ve done a phenomenal job.”

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