The Lady Jays weren't about to let history repeat itself.
After getting swept by Kickapoo less than two weeks ago at the Blue Springs Tournament, Jefferson City returned the favor, defeating Kickapoo 25-20, 25-23 on Tuesday night at Fleming Fieldhouse.
"I think we are progressing as a team. We are playing more as a team," Jefferson City head coach Chris Meyer said. "I think we've had some peaks and valleys along the way, but what I hope what we saw tonight is that we are learning from our past and we are getting better."
The Lady Chiefs handled the Lady Jays 25-19, 25-22 in the tournament, but Jefferson City never trailed in Tuesday's first game and fought through a difficult second game that included 11 ties.
"I think Kickapoo is definitely a championship-level program," Meyer said. "We saw them a few weeks ago and they kicked our tails for sure."
This time, the Lady Jays left nothing to chance, jumping out to leads of 8-0 and 12-1 in the first game. But the Lady Chiefs (10-8-1) rallied, slowly pulling their way back into the match. Kickapoo got within 21-18, but the Lady Jays closed the match with a kill by Abbi McKnelly followed by a Kickapoo error.
The Lady Jays took advantage of six straight Kickapoo errors at one point to take the first game. The Lady Chiefs' serve-receive was suspect as they had trouble with Becca Sturgess' serves in the first few points.
"I think Kickapoo wasn't quite into it. It seemed like they were still on the bus, and with that long bus trip it is tough," Meyer said. "I think we got a little complacent and didn't fully understand that when you are up like that, especially against a team like Kickapoo, that there is no stop. I think we got on our heels a little bit and got on the defense, and we weren't still pushing ahead."
The second game was competitive. Neither team led by more than three points. After a pair of kills on two Jefferson City match points by Kickapoo's Rae Meyers cut Jefferson City's lead to 24-23, McKnelly let go on a kill to finish the match.
When the Lady Jays needed a kill, they went to McKnelly. She finished with nine.
"Each year she's made progress on the offensive end, but especially on the defensive end," Meyer said. "She's just turned herself into an all-around player."
Several of Jefferson City's offensive opportunities were set up by Kickapoo mistakes that led to easy sets for Jefferson City. Madison Bond finished with seven kills.
"We've got to take advantage of them, no matter who you are playing," Meyer said. "The girls continued to fight and play even when we were kind of battling point for point."
The Lady Jays (15-11-2) have won three in a row and are back in action Tuesday at Smith-Cotton.
Jefferson City won the JV match 25-19, 25-27, 25-22. Jenna Massie had 24 assists. Nicole Martin had eight kills while Mary Wehmeyer had 10 kills and three blocks. Mary Vandelicht had 10 digs. The JV team is now 24-4-1.
Jefferson City won the freshman match 25-19, 26-24. Janice Steacy had 14 service points for the Lady Jays. Arielle Guitard had six digs and Maddi Stone had four kills. The freshman team is now 16-6.