By Scott Vanscoy (For

The Branson Pirates received their first District title in 18 years on Wednesday evening, defeating the McDonald County Mustangs in three units (25-19, 25-12, 25-17). Branson took management of the sport and their lead was by no means significantly threatened.

Branson head coach Francie McBride is in her first 12 months with the Pirates. Beforehand, McBride had a profitable 23-year run at Winona the place she led the Wildcats to 14 remaining 4 appearances and 5 state titles.

“That is my first 12 months at Branson,” stated McBride, “and that is fairly thrilling. I’m pleased with the way in which my ladies performed tonight. We performed a fantastic workforce sport tonight, with everybody contributing. My setter, Kierstyn Harmon, simply actually did a fantastic job making one thing out of each move. Morgan Leblanc is at all times stable for us. Emily Prosser and Kayli Thomas actually bought a number of nice assaults. They had been actually dominant tonight, general.”

Within the first set, Branson jumped out to an early 17-9 lead. McDonald County fought to get again within the sport, decreasing Branson’s result in 22-19. The Pirates dispatched the Mustangs with two exhausting spikes from senior Morgan Leblanc, ending the primary set 25-19.

“I believe probably the most thrilling a part of tonight is that all of us got here collectively and performed as a workforce and at all times lifted one another up,” stated Leblanc. “We used our volleyball IQ and positioned the ball the place we needed it to go.”


Within the second set, Branson once more bought off to a giant lead, 20-5, solely to see that drop to 23-11, forcing McBride to take a timeout. After the timeout, her Pirates bought two of the subsequent three factors, rapidly ending the second set, 25-12.

“We knew the place their weaknesses had been and that was one thing we had been going to attempt to exploit, however Prosser is basically good at seeing the ground,” stated McBride. “She does a superb job at that so she was already looking out and prepared for that.”

Within the third and deciding set, McDonald County couldn’t get something rolling, offensively, however nonetheless managed to remain within the set. At one level they trailed 20-17, solely to see Branson set up dominance by profitable the ultimate 5 factors. The rating of the third set was 25-17, giving the Pirates the District title.

One in every of Branson’s weapons tonight was the dink move, not simply spiking the ball. Harmon caught the Mustangs off guard a number of occasions, dinking the ball over the blocker’s outstretched arms.

“I simply like to dink on a regular basis, I simply really feel they weren’t actually at all times prepared,” stated Harmon. “I watch them and may see it in my peripheral imaginative and prescient.”

In the beginning of the 12 months the Pirates set their objective to win districts and to qualify for state.

“It’s a powerful highway to get to state,” stated McBride, “however these ladies have the willpower and have labored so exhausting and made so many enhancements this 12 months, I believe mentally they’re prepared. They’ve the will and the ‘want-to’ and I really feel like, we’re simply going to dig in and do every part we are able to—you by no means know.”

Branson will play the winner of Thursday evening’s matchup between Harrisonville and Belton. The time and site is to be decided.

McDonald County 19 12 17
Branson 25 25 25

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