Platte County senior Kate Brown goes up for an attack at the net against Smithville on Thursday at Smithville High School. TODD NUGENT/PC Preps Extra

Platte County stays unbeaten in conference play with sweep of Smithville

Brown with match-high 21 kills as Pirates pull away after tight 1st set to keep lengthy Blue Division win streak alive.
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After a tight opening set, Platte County rolled to a sweep of Suburban Conference Blue Division rival Smithville on Thursday at Smithville High School. The Pirates’ 25-23, 25-18, 25-19 victory marked their 33rd straight in league play and represented another big step at winning a third straight unbeaten conference title.

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Platte County sophomore Kendall Johnson goes up for a kill against Smithville on Thursday at Smithville High School.

Platte County has already beat Smithville and Kearney on the road, and those two teams will be the biggest challengers again this season.

Against Smithville, Platte County overcame 18 attacking errors, seven from star all-state senior outside hitter Kate Brown. Pirates senior setter Emerson Walter dished out a match-high 41 assist with Brown also converting a match-high 21 kills.

Platte County sophomore Kendall Johnson continued her recent run of strong play with nine kills, helping make up for the absence of senior Mary Grace Hunter — the Pirates’ second leading attacker on the season. Jenna Wheeler, another sophomore, contributed eight kills with increased playing time.

Smithville committed 17 attack errors and didn’t have the same volume of successful attacks at the net. In addition, the Warriors yielded six service aces, two each from Wheeler and junior Karsyn Stehlik.

The win for Platte County pushed their record to 9-7 overall ahead of another tough weekend tournament trip to the Winnetonka Invitational. The Pirates have not lost outside of tournament play and have a 4-0 record in Blue Division play.

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Platte County senior libero Morgan Cox bumps a pass during a match with Smithville on Thursday at Smithville High School.

Platte County 3, Winnetonka 0

The Pirates opened the week with an easy Blue Division sweep of Winnetonka at Platte County High School.

In the 25-12, 25-9, 25-12 victory, Platte County put up 39 kills with a wide variety of contributors. Brown put up a team-high nine, but Stehlik (seven), Jenna Wheeler (six), Murray (five), Hunter (five) and Johnson (five) all followed closely behind. Walter recorded nine of the Pirates’ 25 service aces, while sophomore Ava Wheeler contributed five, Brown four, Hunter three and Walter two.

Cox topped the defense with 12 digs, and Walter dished out 38 assists.

Lansing Invitational

Platte County went 2-3 against five Kansas schools in another difficult field at Saturday’s Lansing Invitational.

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Platte County players including senior Emerson Walter and sophomore Ava Wheeler celebrate a point against Smithville on Thursday at Smithville High School.

Opening against the hosts, Platte County made 12 costly attacking errors in a 25-15, 25-20 loss. Brown led the Pirates with seen kills, while Brown, Walter and Ava Wheeler recorded a service ace apiece. Johnson turned nine a strong all-around game with six kills, three blocks and a service ace. Murray also had three blocks.

Platte County started 0-2 after losing a tight three-set match to Louisburg, which won the opening set and recovered for a 25-20, 15-25, 29-27 victory. The third set featured multiple set points, and the Pirates came up just short despite a team-high nine kills from Hunter and apiece from Brown and Johnson.

Cox had two of Platte County’s three service aces, but the Pirates also made seven service errors total. Brown (17) and Walter (12) led the defense in digs.

Platte County came back to win the next two matches, starting with a 25-17, 18-25, 25-17 three-setter against Olathe West. Brown broke out for 17 kills, accounting for nearly half of the Pirates’ total while Cox put up three service aces and Stehlik and Walter two apiece. The defense was solid with Hunter putting up 15 digs, followed by Brown (14), Walter (12) and Cox (12).

Platte County also topped Blue Valley Southwest for a sweep after a lengthy second set. The 25-14, 31-29 win featured 13 kills for Brown and two aces from Cox, who added a team-high 13 digs.

In the final match, Platte County struggled in a 25-13, 25-15 loss to powerhouse Spring Hill, which recorded 27 kills with just five attack errors. Brown led Platte County again with five kills, while Walter made a team-high five digs.

In the five matches, Walter recorded 118 assists, including 34 (Louisburg) and 31 (Olathe West) in the three-set matchups.

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