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story.lead_photo.caption Jefferson City's Sarah Linthacum jumps to block a hit from a Sedalia Smith-Cotton player during Tuesday's Class 5 District 9 Tournament match at Capital City High School. Photo by Liv Paggiarino / News Tribune.

The Jefferson City Lady Jays didn't allow the Sedalia Smith-Cotton Lady Tigers to get much over the net Tuesday night.

The Lady Jays had 16 blocks as they opened the Class 5 District 9 Tournament with a 25-16, 25-14, 25-12 victory at Capital City High School.

"We've really been working on just seeing the kid that you are responsible for and making sure you're staying in front of your hitter," Jefferson City coach Lisa Hoffmeyer said. "And I feel like our kids are really nice job of that tonight."

The Lady Jays never trailed in the first set, getting a pair of kills from Kayla Walters and a block from Sarah Linthacum to lead 5-2.

The No. 3 seed Lady Tigers didn't let the No. 2 seed Lady Jays run away with it early.

A kill for Isabelle Lyles made it 10-7 and a Smith-Cotton ace pulled the Lady Tigers within two at 14-12.

Then a pair of Walters aces and blocks from Rhakala Blackmon and Paige Reeser led to a 7-0 run for a 21-12 lead.

Blackmon led the Lady Jays with seven blocks and Linthacum had six.

Lyles began the second set with a kill and Smith-Cotton took its only lead of the match at 3-2 before another 7-0 run for Jefferson City.

Blackmon added one of her team-high 10 kills and two more blocks during the run.

Reeser finished with a team-high 17 assists and 12 digs.

"I think (Rhakala) and Paige have found their groove," Hoffmeyer said. "Obviously with some waves in our season, having a little bit downtime, we felt like that consistency slipped a little bit in the middle from where we thought it was going to be early on.

"I think they're finally finding that rhythm back between the two of them on their timing and tempo."

Smith-Cotton did tie it at 10 on an Emma Slaughter ace, but Linthacum followed with a kill and the Jefferson City lead quickly reached 20-11.

A kill from Walters, who tallied six kills, five aces, seven digs and three blocks, closed out the second set.

Everything came together for the Lady Jays at the start of the third set.

Walters had a pair of kills, Blackmon added two kills and a block and Jordan Niermeyer had an ace as part of an 8-0 start.

"When we are loose we play our very best volleyball," Hoffmeyer said. "And I think at that point we were confident enough in our ability in the way we were playing up to that point that we kind of just really loosened up."

A kill for Ada Humphrey made it 12-2 and back-to-back kills for Humphrey made it 22-12. Humphrey finished with six kills.

Reeser's third ace of the match ended it.

Smith-Cotton closes its season with a record of 5-14-1.

Jefferson City (15-13-2) will take on top-seeded Helias (26-5-2) at 7 p.m. Thursday in the district championship match.

Helias defeated Jefferson City 25-19, 25-16, 25-23 in their matchup earlier this season.

"We just have to control those nerves and those emotions," Hoffmeyer said, "and I think we have a senior-led group that will assist us in doing that on Thursday night."

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