The Jefferson City Lady Jays put in a lot of work in their serving ability during the offseason.
It showed during Tuesday night's season opener against Rock Bridge.
Rylie Bohanan finished off a 5-0 run in the first set with an ace and Abby Baughman added a spark in the second set with two aces as the Lady Jays defeated the Bruins 25-16, 25-22 at Fleming Fieldhouse.
"We're hitting nine out of 10 times where they're supposed to be hitting and that's just not a weapon that you have every year," Lady Jays coach Lisa Hoffmeyer said. "So we feel like that's a real asset of ours right now."
Neither team led by more than three in the first set until Jefferson City rolled off five consecutive points, started by an Annabelle Maassen block for an 11-8 advantage.
Bohanan added a pair of aces during the run for a 14-8 lead.
"She's definitely one that we are going to count on to be able to create those service rounds here and there," Hoffmeyer said. "Obviously with that aggressive serve, she's also kind of one that we're okay with having an aggressive miss every once in a while so we tell her to go up to the line and swing away."
Rock Bridge never got any closer than five the rest of the opening set with Maassen accounting for four of her 12 kills to help seal the game.
The Bruins opened the second set with a block and led 3-0 after a Kennedy Robbins kill.
"It made me slightly nervous early," Hoffmeyer said.
But Jefferson City scored the next three points and eventually took a 7-6 lead after Maassen and Baughman recorded blocks.
"We've been spending a lot of time and energy on our blocking and just reading the setter a little bit better," Hoffmeyer said. "So I think it's starting to pay off. I think it's still a work in progress, but overall we are getting more consistent and having two blockers up every single time."
The score was tied at 7 after the Lady Jays hit it out of play, but Rock Bridge served out of bounds and the lead belonged to Jefferson City the rest of the way.
A Baughman ace made it 12-8 and a Maassen kill later extended the lead to 17-12.
"We haven't got to see her healthy for a long time, so I'm excited for her personally," Hoffmeyer said of Baughman. "Just because I can't think of more of a warrior to have been through everything she's been through and kind of outlast it and still physically able to be out there and contribute just says a lot about what kind of kid she is and what she's willing to endure to go out there and contribute to that team."
The Bruins made a run late as an Emma Roush kill to cut it to 22-20 and an attacking error made it a one-point contest before Jefferson City closed it out on a 4-1 run.
Kayla Walters was second on the team with five kills. Paige Reeser tallied 18 assists and four digs. Bohanan led the Lady Jays with nine digs from the libero spot with Maassen adding seven.
Up next for Jefferson City (1-0) is a match against Hermann on Friday on the road.
Rock Bridge won Tuesday's JV match 25-22, 25-22.
Abby Blake had 11 assists and seven digs for Jefferson City. Claire Stegeman added six digs and five kills.
In the freshman match, Rock Bridge on 25-19, 25-20.
Grace Spalding paced Jefferson City with 21 digs, while Lauren Reid had 12 assists and three aces. Izabell Johnston added four kills.