The City Volleyball Jamboree tipped off on Monday at the MWSU Fieldhouse on the campus of Missouri Western, with Central starting off competitive play strong with a win, earning 2-0 sweeps of both Lafayette and Benton.
Ultimately, it was a tournament of highs and lows for the rest of the teams participating. Benton swept Bishop LeBlond, Lafayette swept Benton, and LeBlond gave Central their sole loss as the Jamboree failed to follow many patterns.
With all four teams champing at the bit to compete after a long offseason, coupled with the desire to claim the city crown, unexpected results tend to happen.
“The jamboree has a ton of pressure, all schools involved. It’s a learning experience for everyone to figure out what we need to do before we get into our conference games,” Central coach Monica Flaska said. “But the pressure’s intense, the crowd’s amazing, but it’s hard for them to hear and play in that stressful environment. It’s tough. But every team wants to beat the other teams, so much rivalry in this city.”
At the end of the night, the scores ended up with Central winning five games and losing one, Lafayette at 3-3, and LeBlond and Benton finishing 2-4.
In their first City Jamboree appearance, LeBlond was ready to see where the Golden Eagle’s proud volleyball tradition would rank with the
other city schools.
“We’ve not been in a City Jamboree before, so for us it’s a chance to come out and play the city schools and see where we stack up,” coach Kimberly Huss said. “We know we’re smaller, so it’s fun. The kids were really excited.”
Despite the losing overall record, LeBlond battled hard and lost several close efforts, proving that they could be a formidable force.
Returning several senior starters, LeBlond had a luxury of experience not afforded to most of their city rivals.
“I thought there were things we really struggled with at times, but we could come back and make really positive plays as well,” Huss said. “So we need to work on being more consistent and gelling as a team.”
Stepping into a more prominent role with the Fighting Irish this season, Lafayette sophomore Khiani Jackson touched on the fun of an exhibition game before wins and losses begin to stack up.
“It’s really fun, it’s a good way to start the season off before we get into actual season games,” Jackson said. “I think we take it pretty seriously, but there’s also games where we just want to have fun.”
All four teams season’s begin on September 3, as Central plays Savannah, LeBlond plays Mid-Buchanan, Benton plays Riverside, and Lafayette plays VanHorn.