It may not be the first or last this season, but Marshfield had a statement to make in its Big 8 Conference opener on Sept. 29.
The Lady Jays played with all the fire needed to sweep Reeds Spring, claiming their 11th victory in a row over the Lady Wolves.
After taking the first game 25-17, Marshfield trailed by several points before winning the middle game, 25-19. The set to seal it was academic, too. A swing by freshman Mollie Thomas ricocheted off a Lady Wolves player and out for the penultimate point before a combo block at the net by Marshfield sealed the match point, 25-18.
“We came out really strong and we just wanted to take them down really fast,” Marshfield senior Baylee Hayes said. “Some things were said, so we wanted to prove that we were the better team.”
Perhaps it was no accident that the Lady Jays chose the Reeds game for their Blackout Night.
“I gave them a little [extra motivation],” Marshfield head coach Jarod Olson said. “I shared with them that this team thought they were the favorites to win our conference. We took that to heart and wanted to come out and show that we should be the favorites to win our conference.”
“I felt like we dominated the game. The points that we gave up in this match were our unforced errors, and those are the things that when we play against better teams we have to clean up.”
Playing in three sets for the first time this season, freshman Gracie Kimrey entered the evening with six kills on the season and recorded eight in the victory.
“Gracie really stepped up and had a nice night,” Olson said. “We’ve been waiting, bringing her along, and the last couple matches we’ve been giving her more playing time. She’s turning into a regular starter for us on the right side. It’s nice to have her.”
Brianna Utecht led the team with nine kills, while Brooklyn Crawford added eight. Another freshman, Mollie Thomas, contributed seven. Utecht and Ellie Whitehurst both notched three aces, while Alliyah Joiner, never afraid to sprawl out for a ball, piled up 16 digs.
Following the win over the Lady Wolves, Marshfield finished the week out remarkably.
After leading 2-0 Thursday at Mt. Vernon, the Mountaineers won back-to-back sets and pushed the Lady Jays to a third game, which they emerged victorious from, 15-13. Brooklyn Crawford totaled 21 kills and Utecht paced the team in both digs (23) and blocks (five) in the road win.
Then, over the weekend, the Lady Jays took first in their pool at the Neosho Tournament by sweeping Seneca, Joplin and Riverton (KS). After also sweeping Lamar and Diamond, they split the first two sets in the championship game with Northwest (Cedar Hill), a Class 5 program with one loss on the year, before falling 25-23 in the decisive set.
Even with that defeat, Marshfield’s record stands at 19-3 on the season. Among the team’s other pair on the year is a loss in the season opener to Willard, the No. 1 school in Class 4.
Marshfield traveled to Rogersville for a big conference showdown Tuesday and hosts Hollister on Thursday before taking part in the Lebanon Pinkfest Tournament this weekend.