The Chester High School Lady Jackets Volleyball Team battled to a sixth-place finish in the 2018 Marissa Labor Day Volleyball Tournament Aug. 27-30.
The ladies played five matches in three days and in the 12 team event.
The 12 teams were assigned to one of four pools. Pool A consisted of Chester, Marissa/Coulterville, and Pinckneyville. Pool B included Wesclin, Okawville, and Steeleville. Pool C was comprised of East St. Louis, Red Bud, and Lebanon. Pool D included New Athens, Gibault, and Trico.
Pool A and Pool C teams battled Monday August 27 in first round action while Pool B and Pool D competed in first round matches Tuesday August 28.
The Jackets opened Monday August 27 against Pinckneyville. The former River-to-River Mississippi Division foe proved to be too much for CHS in the end, but it took the Lady Panthers three sets to accomplish the goal of beating the Lady Jackets.
Chester lost the first set, 17-21, and then roared back to even the record with a 21-17 victory over Pinckneyville. In the tiebreaker, PHS came out on top, 11-15 to win the match. With the win Chester fell to 0-1 in the tournament and 1-1 for the early season overall record.
In the loss, Lauryn Vasquez recorded two solo blocks. Ashtyn Jany had 12 digs and two assists as libero. Carlee Weir recorded 14 assists and two aces. Reese Chandler added four kills. Lauren Welge had five kills and Grace Stec recorded three kills.
"Pinckneyville is a solid team," Head Coach Sarah Norman. "They killed us in the corners. We were slow to adjust and had several service errors which contributed to Pinckneyville's lead. Overall, we played our game the second set and won. We just couldn't pull through in the third set to get the match win."
The Jackets played its second match of the tournament 15 minutes later against Marissa/Coulterville. In that match Chester won in two sets, 22-20 and 21-9. In the victory, Reese Chandler had a pair of aces. Lauren Vasquez recorded two aces and five kills. Lauren Soellner added two aces. Lauren Welge had three kills. Grace Stec contributed four kills. Ashtyn Jany, the libero, added four digs. Josie Kattenbraker recorded three digs and Carlee Weir had 13 assists.
"We started slow in the first set, but picked it up in the second and held our ground," Coach Norman said, "We were more aggressive in the second. Serves were much better and we even ended the match with an ace by Reese Chandler. Lauryn Vasquez and Grace Stec led with heavy hitting giving us the advantage on offense."
The Jackets came back Aug. 29 to take on Steeleville from Pool B. Chester continued its winning ways by defeating the Lady Warriors, but it took all three sets to accomplish the win. Chester won the first set 21-16, but lost the second set, 8-21. It took a third rubber match to secure the victory, but CHS did it by a score of 21-17. With the win the Lady Jackets improved to 2-1 in the tournament and 3-1 for the season.
"Steeleville got the best of us a few times, hitting over our block," Norman said. "Chester volleyball is a rather petite squad at the varsity level, so we were definitely testing our limits. Yet a few decent adjustments helped our coverage where necessary and kept the ball in play."
The tournament ended Aug. 30 with each team playing two matches apiece. Chester faced Red Bud from Pool C to determine who would compete for fifth place later in the evening.
The Jackets got off to a slow start losing the first set, 18-21. In the second set CHS won, 21-15 to force a third tiebreaking set. In the tiebreaker the Lady Jackets won, 21-18 to win the match. With the win Chester improved to 3-1 in the tournament and 4-1 for the season.
In the win Carlee Weir recorded three aces, 14 assists, and two solo blocks. Grace Stec had three aces and two kills. Lauren Welge contributed two aces with six kills. Lauryn Vasquez had three digs and five kills and Josie Kattenbraker added one solo block.
With the win Chester earned the right to compete against New Athens for the fifth place trophy. Competition was fierce, but the Lady Jackets fell to New Athens in two sets, 21-23 and 18-21.
Lauryn Vasquez had a god match with two digs and six kills, one of which was from the back row. Ashtyn Jany added two digs and one assist. Josie Kattenbraker contributed four digs and one kills. Reese Chandler had one ace, one block, one assist, and three kills. Lauren Welge added one ace and six kills while Kendall Williams contributed one ace. Carlee Weir added one block assist and 16 assists. Lauren Soellner added one kill.
"We competed well and kept our heads up throughout the tournament," Norman said. "Red Bud and New Athens were both scrappy. Both teams adjusted well and fought hard. I must say I appreciated the energy that those teams brought to the court."
Chester will host Christopher Sept. 6 with all three squads competing. The freshmen will play at 5:15 p.m. followed by a JV matchup at 6:15 p.m. The varsity will begin at 7:30 p.m. All games will be played at Chester's Colbert Memorial Gymnasium on Rocky Bridges Court.