JEFFERSON CITY — Sharin Muskrat dived and saved a point for Hickman as the Kewpies trailed Jefferson City late in Game 2.
Corey Pritchett’s hitting attempt appeared to be a Jay point, but Muskrat made the play and gave Hickman momentum as the Jefferson City fans celebrated Pritchett’s hit.
The Kewpies used that momentum to defeat the Jays 25-22, 29-27 in the final of the Class 4 District 10 Tournament on Tuesday. In the semifinal, Hickman rallied in both games to beat the Camdenton Lakers 27-25, 25-21.
“(The final) was a battle,” Hickman coach Greg Gunn said. “Every ball was being fought for with everything that every girl on the court had on both sides. That match could’ve been won on so many rallies. But everybody kept battling and we are fortunate to be on the good side.”
Hickman (32-1) will play in a sectional match at 4:30 p.m. Saturday at Rolla.
Jefferson City (23-9-1) scored the first three points in Game 2 and led 15-9 after a Pritchett kill. The Kewpies used a 10-4 streak to tie the game. Paige Ely had three kills in the streak for Hickman. The Jays responded with two straight and led 22-20 before Hickman took its first lead.
The Kewpies scored four straight and had a 24-22 lead. Pritchett had a kill and Brenna Schlader missed long in an attempt to win the match.
Alex Ristow earned a kill to give Hickman a 28-27 lead and Veronica Smith won the match with an ace that hit the net.
Muskrat said Hickman did not panic once it fell behind.
“We try to take each point one by one,” Muskrat said. “It is damaging mentally to think about how much you’re down, so we just think about the next point.”
Gunn said that his team is used to playing from behind and that helped the Kewpies in the final.
“You don’t want to do that,” Gunn said. “But it says something about them that they are able to not let that get them down. They know they can pull out of it and come back and win those games.”
Hickman led 6-4 in Game 1 before the Jays scored five straight with Cristy Dudenhoeffer earning three kills. Hickman then went on a 7-1 streak to regain the lead. The Kewpies led 24-19 before three straight Hickman misplays allowed Jefferson City to close. The Jays committed four hits to end the game.
Smith earned 12 kills in the match and Danielle Newton had 25 assists for Hickman. Pritchett and Dudenhoeffer led the Jays with nine kills.
Gunn said that Hickman knew it could beat the Jays because of the two regular-season wins.
“We knew it would be tough,” Gunn said. “But we were fired up and it was for the district championship, and that’s what we’ve been working for all year.”
Camdenton scored the first six points in Game 2 of the semifinal match and led 12-3 after a Hayley Christensen ace. Hickman tied it at 16 with a 10-2 streak. Ely committed a service error to end the streak and give the Lakers the lead.
Smith served an ace to give Hickman the lead at 19-18 and Newton served an ace to end the match.
“Everyone was a little nervous,” Newton said. “We played them at a tournament and they beat us. They gave us our only loss this season and it was a little intimidating to play them in the first game in districts.”
Hickman led early in Game 1, but Camdenton used a 6-1 streak to take an 18-17 lead. The Lakers led 24-22 after Smith missed on a hitting attempt. Jill Wallace missed long for Camdenton, and Kendra Williams tied it with a kill. Camdenton took a 25-24 lead, but Wallace committed a service error and the Kewpies scored the next two points.
“We were nervous,” Gunn said. “It’s the first game of districts. It’s been a nervous day and we got those out of the way in the first game.”
Smith led Hickman in the match with nine kills, and Schlader had four blocks. Wallace had 13 kills for Camdenton.
Schlader, Smith and Newton made the All-District team for the Kewpies.