The Lafayette Lancers are back — back in the Class 4 Final Four volleyball tournament.
The Lancers (30-8) begin pool play Friday at the Show Me Center in Cape Girardeau.
“Reaching the Final Four is something special,” Lafayette coach Zach Young said. “Each year is different, but the same goal each year is to be playing your best volleyball at the end of the season to give yourself a chance.”
The semifinal round of the state tournament will consist of three rounds of two-set matches to determine the teams that qualify to play in the championship match. Each of the four sectional winners will play six sets (two versus each team) in the semifinal round. Placement onto the final bracket will be determined by the win/loss records.
Lafayette meets Liberty (28-7) at 3 p.m. That will be followed by a match with Nixa (34-4) at 5 p.m. and the a 7 p.m. match against Francis Howell Central (19-5-2).
The admission for all students and adults is $8 per session. It cots $5 to park.
The Lancers, who defeated defending champion Eureka to win the district championship, won tough matches to reach state again.
Lafayette beat Oakville 26-24, 25-14.
“Oakville has a really good team and might have the best back row defense in our area,” Young said. “Our middles Allison Beaton and Morgan Isenberg combined for 14 kills and only two errors to lead the way.”
In the quarterfinals, Lafayette topped Cor Jesu 27-25, 25-21.
“I think our serving and defense were key against Cor Jesu,” Young said. “Cor Jesu is an incredible team that is very well coached and we knew we would have to defend to have a chance against some of their hitters. Brooke Borgmeyer and Allison Sink led us offensively with 16 kills combined.
“Shannon McLain did a good job mixing up the offense with 23 assists. The real story however, was our back row play–Maggie Rogan, Lexi Basler, Jenny Nguyen, Paige Gordon, and Jordyn Lochmann combined for 48 digs in the match.”
It was a tough stretch of matches for the Lancers. Lafayette was tested in every postseason matches.
“We had one of the hardest roads to get to State having to go through Marquette, Eureka, Oakville, and Cor Jesu,” Young said. “I’m very proud of how this team has committed to competing for the final push of our season.”
Everyone was happy after the match. The Lancers were back in the Final Four.
“Our team stormed the court and the coaches embraced,” Young said. “We knew it was possible, but also knew we’d have to play really well to make it a reality. We’re very proud of our team.”
There are nine girls on the team were on the roster for the state trip last year.
Liberty, Francis Howell Central and Nixa are other three teams in the Final Four. Young said he respects them those programs.
“All 3 of the other Final Four teams will be tough opponents,” Young said. “But we’re going to play our game and give it our best shot.”
Lafayette has lost twice to Nixa this season. Those losses came in the Blue Springs Tournament three weeks ago. Since then, the Lancers have not looked back, winning seven consecutive matches.
Young knows what Lafayette must do to get a chance to play for title again.
“We’ve got to bring our ‘A’ game this weekend, have a fast recovery rate from mistakes, and just have the ball bounce our way at key times,” Young said. “All four teams have a chance. It’s going to be an exciting tournament.”
The third place match will be at 3 p.m. Saturday followed by the championship match at 4:30 p.m.
Lafayette missed the Final Four in 2017. In the previous six year, the Lancers won the state championship.