CAMERON, Mo. — Four different times, Savannah found a way to stave off elimination.

After surviving a tenuous second set, the top-seeded Savages forged their way back into the state playoffs Wednesday night at Cameron High School. A come-from-behind 19-25, 29-27, 25-17 victory in the Class 3 District 16 championship match at booked the return trip.

The result mirrored last year’s district title tilt but reversed the roles. Savannah upset Maryville in the 2012 matchup, but this year’s version — featuring no seniors — entered the postseason bracket as the top seed and held off the challenger, beating the Spoofhounds for the second time this season.

“The first time we played (this year), it was back-and-forth,” Savannah coach Deb Couldry said. “The first set the girls were a little nervous, and the second set, we almost

waited until it was too late.”

Maryville (21-9-1) didn’t take advantage of four match-point serves in the second set, losing in a district title game for the third straight season.

The teams traded sideouts seven times in the closing stretch after Maryville went ahead 24-23 with the pressure consistently on Savannah to fight off elimination.

Savannah junior Ava Peterson’s kill submarined Maryville’s fourth and final chance to win the match, and she added two more in a row to close out the second set and force the third.

“They decided they didn’t want to quit,” Couldry said. “They worked too hard all year to not win the district. They showed a lot of character.”

Savannah sophomore Greysen Roster contributed a pair of kills and a block — one of her 10, tied with Marnie Castle for the match-high — during the Savannah four-point run that broke a 15-all tie in the third set and produced the first four-point lead of the match for the Savages (29-4-2).

From there, Roster contributed two kills, and Peterson added one more of her 10 to secure the win and a chance to host Saturday’s sectional/quarterfinal round, starting with a matchup against O’Hara — ranked No. 8 in the most recent Missouri High School Volleyball Coaches Association’s Class 3 state poll.

The winner plays in a quarterfinal later in the day at

Savannah High School.

“We really had to work to get here,” said Roster, an outside hitter who didn’t play varsity last year when the Savages lost in sectionals but recorded team-high of 11 kills in the district title match against Maryville. “We really had to push through and work as a team tonight. It was really exciting to help my team out and help bring home the win.”

Maryville dominated the opening set Wednesday against the MEC


Gabrielle Church — one of nine departing seniors for the Spoofhounds — recorded two of her team-high four blocks and

contributed four of her seven kills. Maryville twice built six-point leads, 19-13 and 23-17, before winning by the same margin.

Savannah built a pair of three-point leads in the second set before Maryville made its push back, leading to the multiple chances to close out the win.

Instead, the match ended up going three sets, just as the Oct. 3 regular-season meeting did when Savannah won the first and third set to prevail. The Savages swept last year’s district title matchup against Maryville.

“In my mind, there shouldn’t have been a third set,” Maryville coach Lori Klaus said. “It is tough. This year we were much closer than last year. We lost in two (sets) last year, and I never felt we were in the game to win it. There were moments tonight that I thought we could.”

Cody Thorn can be reached

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