Kennett's Amy Johnson dives for a ball.
Kennett's chances of pulling off an upset against Notre Dame, which is currently ranked No. 2 in Class 3, looked realistic early in set 1. Kennett forced a Notre Dame timeout when it jumped out to an early 8-3 lead. Notre Dame battled back to tie set 1 at 9-9. Kennett went back on top 14-12 and did not trail Notre Dame until it went on top 15-14 in set 1.
Notre Dame took its largest lead in set 1 at four when it went on top 23-19 before trading the final four points of the first set.
"We had a great start tonight," Kennett coach Kristy Green said. "The girls were really ready to play Notre Dame. We are always ready to play top teams we can learn from. We've gotten better and worked hard this last week on things we needed to improve on. In the first set we did a number of things right and didn't fizzle out. I couldn't be more proud of the way they played in the first set. Since I've been involved the last six years that's the first time we've been able to put up 21 points on Notre Dame. I was very proud we reached double digits tonight."
Kennett was unable to carry its first-set momentum into set 2. Notre Dame calculated the first five points of set 2 for a 5-0 lead. The lead quickly swelled to double digits at 15-5. Notre Dame maintained a double-digit lead the remainder of the second set.
"They kind of figured us out and some of the stuff we had going on," Green said of set 2. "Our block wasn't as tight in the second set. We didn't get our blocks up and our defense didn't adjust to the side their hitters were hitting on. We just fizzled."
Kennett's players make their way toward the bench following the end of their district semifinal game against Notre Dame Tuesday at the Bearcat Event Center in Dexter.
Kenna Hounihan tallied the only serving ace for Kennett. Hounihan, Coffer and Jacky Lockhert had two blocks each.
Second-seeded Perryville defeated third-seeded Dexter 25-20, 25-18, in the other Class 3, District 1, semifinal. Perryville (23-8) claimed its second straight Class 3, District 1, title with a 28-26, 26-24, district championship victory against Notre Dame Tuesday.
Kennett's varsity finishes the 2012 season with a 14-12 record. Kennett's junior varsity went undefeated in the Bootheel Conference and won the Bootheel Conference Tournament. The Kennett junior varsity finished its season with a 17-5-1 record.
"We are ready to play ball," Green said of next season. "They are already talking about what we can do in the offseason to get ourselves to this point. We know what point we have to be at to advance deeper. Our girls watch and learn. I'm hoping they see what we have to do. They are always asking 'what can we do to get better"? It's a group of girls that are tight and they are going to figure it out. It's exciting how our program could progress in the future."
Kennett graduates three players off its 2012 varsity squad - Chyann Coffer, Amy Johnson and Jenny Lockhert.
"Those three girls have been a pleasure to coach," Green said of the seniors. "They are pleasant, ready to practice and have everything ready when they get to practice. Sometimes you have a little anxiety going into practice not knowing with teenagers what has happened during the day or during the week. This group has warmed up and been ready when I arrive at practice. They have been true leaders this year and I will miss them. It's been a joy to coach those girls their entire career. They were my first seventh grade group and now they are graduating. I taught them how to play and how to be young ladies. Hopefully, they learned a little bit from me. Their departure is definitely bitter sweet."
Gideon advances to Class 1 sectional
The Gideon Bulldogs was the only volleyball squad from Dunklin, Pemiscot or New Madrid County that collected a district championship.
Top-seeded Gideon beat third-seeded Cooter 25-17, 24-26, 25-21, in the Class 1, District 1, championship Tuesday night at Gideon.
Gideon beat fourth-seeded Southland 25-9, 25-13, in its district semifinal Tuesday. Cooter defeated second-seeded South Pemiscot 25-19, 25-13, in the other Class 1, District 1, semifinal.
Gideon (26-6) will play Bernie (23-7) in a Class 1 sectional contest at Lesterville High School Saturday at 3 p.m. The other Class 1 sectional at 4:30 p.m. Saturday will feature Lesterville (17-14-1) against Advance (27-4-1). The winners of the sectional games will play in a Class 1 state quarterfinal game at Lesterville at approximately 6 p.m. Saturday.