The Cardinals bench and their fans cheer a momentum change in the match for third place last Thursday at the Show-Me Center in Cape Girardeau.

Webb City is the state’s 4th best Class 4 volleyball team

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The Webb City volleyball team didn’t go to the state final four last week to get fourth place. But after two losses during a long day that stretched to midnight, coach Rhonda Lawrence said her players had every right to be proud of their season.

“We’re in the top four of the state,” she said. “That’s not something to sneeze at by any means.”

The volleyball championships journey started Thursday when the team boarded a school bus for the more than five-hour ride to Cape Girardeau’s Show-Me Center. The arena was set up for two matches to be played at the same time.

The Class 4 semifinal round on Friday afternoon had the Webb City Cardinals facing the Incarnate Word Red Knights at the same time the Platte County Pirates were taking on the West Christian Academy Wildcats.

The two St. Louis schools advanced, while Webb City and Platte County had to wait to play at night for third place.

Webb City, which had gotten to the final four by beating Helias Catholic in an exciting, come-from-behind five-set match on Saturday, Oct. 29, in the Cardinal Dome,  lost to Incarnate Word in straight sets, 25-17, 25-18, 25-12. 

Kate Brownfield led the Cardinals with 12 kills. Kyah Sanborn had 24 sets, while Sophia Crane and Jenna Noel both had 10 digs.

The tournament got behind schedule, and with the third-place matches only being played one at a time, it was after 9 p.m. when the Webb City-Platte County match got underway. It had been scheduled for 8 p.m.

The Cardinals and Pirates were evenly matched.

Webb City lost the first set 25-23 but came back to win the next two 25-26, 25-22. Platte County won the fourth set 31-29 and outlasted Webb City 15-11 in the deciding fifth set.

Brenda Lawrence and Brownfield led the offensive charge with 17 and 14 kills, respectively. Aubree Lassiter and Jaeli Routledge added 9 each.

Sanborn, a senior, added 47 sets to her career total, which exceeded 1,000 as her junior year ended.

Digs were by: Crane, 25; Lawrence, 23; Brownfield, 22; Sanborn, 19; Noel, 12; Lassiter, 6; Rutledge 4, and Kirra Long, 4.

Rutledge had 9 solo blocks.

That third-place match was in a near empty arena, because the remaining fans were mostly the players’ families.

Coach Lawrence talked about the difficulty of losing the first match, waiting around and then trying “to do this as late as it was. We’ve been up for too many hours. So I mean it was just a grudge match.

“We were just so close (to winning third place) it was a super heartbreaker. But I think we were doing the best we could to hang with it. They (Pirates) got a spurt of energy at the end that we just couldn’t quite get.”

This was Webb City’s first appearance in the final four.

“You know we wanted the championship. That’s what you fight for all the time,” said Lawrence.

“But I’m super proud of my team.” They stepped up, playing better and better” as the season and playoffs progressed.

“We missed all those times getting close to state before. It made these guys super hungry for this.”

It was the final game for four seniors Brenda Lawrence, Kyah Sanborn, Kate Brownfield and manager Kayleigh Joines.

“And so we’ve made it here. The next step is to take it even further – be better next time,” said coach Lawrence.

Westminster Christian defeated Incarnate Word 3-1 for the Class 4 championship.

2022 Class 4 fourth place Webb City Cardinals. (KNEELING) Chloe Puno. (FRONT) Emma Gilbert, Sophia Crane, Jadyn Catterson, Kyah Sanborn, Brenda Lawrence, Kate Brownfield, Jenna Noel, Kayleigh Joines, Avery Gardner.
(BACK) Jason Brown, Olivia Lewis, Savannah Crane, Mia Lenker, Aubree Lassiter, Makayla Mayes, Jaeli Rutledge, Kirra Long, Jaylin Utuy, Mollie Keene, Rhonda Lawrence.