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Louisburg has big presence at GKCVCA all-star match

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Louisburg’s Erin Lemke (left) and Haley Cain go up for a block during the Greater Kansas City Volleyball Coaches Association small-class all-star match Sunday at Avila University.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The 2019 Louisburg volleyball senior class provided a lot of memories for the program in their four years, but many of them still had one more item on their agenda.

Erin Lemke, Haley Cain, Riley Kallevig and Reilly Ratliff-Becher all took part in the Greater Kansas City Volleyball Coaches Association Small Class All-Star Match on Sunday at Avila University as the Kansas seniors squared off against Missouri.

The result may not have been what they were hoping for as Missouri won the match for the third straight season, 25-20, 25-23 and 21-25, but all four Lady Cat players saw a lot of court time as they joined players from Bishop Miege, Eudora and Heritage Christian.

“I was extremely honored to be chosen to represent Kansas,” Ratliff-Becher said. “I loved playing with the girls from different schools, but my favorite part was experiencing this with my teammates Haley, Erin and Riley. They’re my very best friends and we’ve been by each other’s side these past four years making memories. This experience was a good note to end on with them.”

The four Louisburg seniors weren’t the only local connection to the match as Louisburg head coach Jessica Compliment was named the Kansas Small-Class Coach of the Year for the fourth time in her career and coached team Kansas, along with assistants Leanna Willer and Kallie O’Keefe.

“It’s always a great honor to be recognized by my peers and selected to coach the all-star match,” Compliment said. “This is the fourth time I’ve been selected, and each year it’s humbling. I always say though that it’s not about me, but about the players and recognizing their outstanding senior season and careers they’ve had. It’s fun to bring together players from opposing teams and see them work together on the same side of the net rather than opposing sides.

Louisburg head coach Jessica Compliment was named the GKCVCA Kansas Small-Class Coach of the Year. Compliment coached the Kansas team with assistant Kallie O’Keefe (left) and Leanna Willer.

“Having the opportunity to coach the Louisburg seniors one last time is also always exciting. These seniors had a great season and have put a stamp on Louisburg volleyball. The all-star match is a no pressure match but rather an opportunity for players across the metro area to come together and do what they do best – play good volleyball.”

Kansas took an early lead in the first set thanks in part to Cain, who recorded a block to put her team up 3-0 early. Missouri then went on a run to take a 15-10 advantage, before Cain added a kill to cut into the deficit.

Lemke made an impact late in the set on a kill, while Ratliff-Becher served a pair of points to cut Missouri’s lead to 23-19, but could get no closer.

“I was very grateful that I got picked to play in the all-star match and represent Kansas,” Cain said. “It is an honor I will always remember. Being able to play with, and against, people of that talent was such an amazing experience. But what I enjoyed the most was being able to play with Erin, Reilly and Riley one last time, along with getting coached by our coaches. It meant so much to me to get to take the court with all of them one last time.”

In the second set, Kansas got out to another good start. Kallevig recorded a kill, Ratliff-Becher had an ace on the play and Cain added to kill to help put Kansas up 6-3.

Reilly Ratliff-Becher looks to dig up a ball Sunday during the GKCVCA all-star match..

Lemke notched a kill to put Kansas up 11-5 and Cain later recorded an ace to give Kansas a 19-15 advantage. Missouri made a late final run to steal the set.

Unfortunately, the night for Kallevig ended early in the second set as she had to leave with an ankle injury and was unable to come back. Despite that, she enjoyed the all-star experience.

“I was so honored to be selected to play at the all-star game this year, and having the opportunity to play with a few of my teammates again,” Kallevig said. “I had the best time getting to meet new people as well and to play alongside them representing the Kansas small class.”

Louisburg’s Riley Kallevig prepares to rise up for a block Sunday at Avila University.

It was all Kansas in the third set as it jumped out to a 17-10 after a Lemke block and it was able to end the night on a positive note.

“I was very honored to have been selected to play as I was not expecting it at all,” Lemke said. “All of us, Haley, Reilly and Riley were excited to play again, especially with each other. Getting to meet and play with girls that we had played against for so long was a really cool experience.”

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