November 13, 2021
By Fred Liggett
The 2021 Lee’s Summit West Titans volleyball team set goals all year long and ended up achieving them as the team made it all the way to the Class 5 championship match before the season came to an end.
2021 served as the sixth season for Jennifer Morgan to be the volleyball coach at LS West. Morgan is quick to admit, “We set goals all year long.” Morgan describes making the Class 5 Final Four as “a surreal feeling,” adding “everyone talked about it and we had a great time.”
Morgan describes her team as one that “worked hard, try not to dwell on it, if not get a point.” Morgan found her team to be “really relentless, bear down and don’t give up.” Just to reach the State Final Four the Titans had to overcome a lot and beat the most talented teams in Missouri.
Following a district championship LS West met Blue Springs in a sectional round match. The Titans won all three sets to defeat the Wildcats. Up next for the Titans was a conference foe who just happened to be the defending state champions from Liberty North. This quarterfinal round match was set for the Titans gym at LS West at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 30. After falling to the Eagles twice during the regular season The Titans would prove they would not be denied on this day. The Titans won a thrilling five-set match winning the last two at 25-22 and 15-13. The time had come for the Titans to compete in the Final Four.
Titans beat Columbia Rock Bridge in three sets, 25-20, 25-19, & 28-26 in a Class 5 state semi-final round match. The Titans then lost the state championship match to Cor Jesu Academy 3 -1. All the events were played inside the Show-Me Center at Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau, MO. The team was able to take a charter bus from Lee’s Summit to Southeast Missouri for the championship weekend which took place Nov. 4 and 5.
Coach Morgan gives a “lot of credit to senior leadership.” Coach sees the “expectations set, the younger kids buy in and look up to the seniors and how they influence their teammates.” One senior that is getting some post-season recognition is Sydney Handel who is a finalist for the annual Evelyn Gates Award which is awarded each year to the best high school volleyball player in the Kansas City metro area. The LS West Titans volleyball team served up a memorable year for the school thanks to reaching all their goals.