LECANTO — The only drama in the Seven Rivers Christian gym on Tuesday night was whether or not the Warriors would get a shutout in the second set against an overmatched Lakeside Christian.
After rolling to a 25-8 victory over the Lions in the first set of a West Coast Athletic Conference semifinal, the Warriors earned the first point of the second set off Lakeside’s serve and senior Jane Jeffes stepped to the service line for the Warriors. As it turned out, she would never leave that spot the rest of the set, serving out the final 24 points.
Jeffes tossed in seven aces and got plenty of help from fellow seniors Madison Peters (8 kills) and Katelyn Kelso (5 kills) in a stunning 25-0 second-set victory.
So when did Jeffes start thinking about pitching the shutout?
“At 24 probably. I didn’t really notice how far ahead we were until we were at 17 or 18,” she said. “I was just following the spots coach (Steve) Stack was telling me to try to serve to.”
As for the coach, he wanted to see the shutout as much as the players.
“I told them that’s the first time in a high school varsity match I’ve ever seen that. If she didn’t get an ace, the other girls were putting it down,” he said. “We were working on some different spots serving and she hit everything. When we got to 22 I wanted to see if she could finish it out. Then the girls started cheering for it and digging in. They wanted to see a shutout. That was awesome, especially on senior night. Not a whole lot of times you’re going to get that opportunity.”
The Warriors (17-3) stumbled out of the blocks in the third set, trailing 6-2, but eventually took out the Lions (4-16), 25-8, 25-0, 25-12.
“We were working on very specific offensive plays tonight. We went in with a game plan and they worked on those things,” coach Stack said. “And that’s just getting ready for districts. It was good to see those things and good to see the serving the way it was.”
The seniors led the way on senior night, as Jeffes finished with 24 assists, eight aces and two kills, Peters had 15 kills and an ace, Kelso added 12 kills, three digs and three aces and Allison Phillips chipped in two digs and an assist. Leighton Stack had seven kills, six digs and five aces and Julia Shipes added three aces and a kill.
“We want to stay focused. We’ve had a great season so far, but it’s all about when districts come around and staying focused and playing 100%,” Jeffes said.
Hernando Christian Academy defeated Classical Prep in four sets in the night’s first semifinal and will face Seven Rivers Christian for the league title Thursday at 7 p.m. back in the Warriors’ gym.
“We want to close it out and we want to keep momentum going. We want to finish strong and make Thursday count,” coach Stack said. “And we love playing HCA. They always give us a good game.”