Make no mistake about it, the Blair Oaks Lady Falcons know what they're up against.
And it's no cakewalk.
Coming off their first volleyball district title since 2006, the Lady Falcons open the sectional round of the Class 2 playoffs at 4:30 p.m. today against Whitfield at Brentwood High School in St. Louis.
Whitfield is ranked fifth in the latest coaches poll. If Blair Oaks gets past the Whitfield, Hermann - the state's topranked team - could be waiting in the quarterfinals.
"You want to go in as prepared as you can, but no matter who we go up against, we have to play like we did in districts," Blair Oaks coach Joy Northweather said. "... At this point, I don't think they feel that intimidation. I don't want to sound naive, but you've got to believe. Right now, I've got a team of believers.
"That's what I want out on the court. I want them to go out there and leave it all on the court."
Blair Oaks (21-8-2) won its third district title in school history Tuesday with a 25-15, 12-25, 25-22 win over top-seeded Fatima.
"I'm just so proud of the girls," Northweather said. "With the injuries we've had this year, I've been constantly rotating the lineup a lot and that has caused some inconsistency.
"We just have come together these last three weeks, and we're able to finally start finetuning more than we are introducing something new."
The Lady Falcons have had a late-season surge, winning their last six matches and 11 of their last 12.
Whitfield (26-5) won its sixth district title in nine years with a two-game victory over Principia on Wednesday.
"The fact that they're teams that we've not seen makes it a little bit more difficult to prepare for," Northweather said.
The Lady Falcons are led by junior setter Kelcee Rosslan, who led the team in kills last year. She's been even more productive after moving to setter this year with 406 assists, 88 kills, 52 aces and 42 blocks.