ADVANCE, Mo. -- For more than two months teams across Southeast Missouri have tried to figure out how to stop Leopold senior hitter Holly Jansen.
If Saturday's Class 1 sectional in Advance is any indication, that problem remains unsolved.
In a dominating performance, Jansen banged out 23 kills and the Leopold Wildcats (32-2-1) rolled to a 15-7, 15-3 win over Bismarck in the sectional championship.
"The girls were fired up," Leopold coach Leanne Huffman said. "They played wonderful."
Bismarck, which was strong defensively in a straight-set win over Advance in its opener, didn't have answers for Jansen and company's above-the-net play. When Bismarck (23-5-3) tried to stop Jansen, the Wildcats simply set it to Courtney Wesbecher, who had nine kills, or Tasha Thele, who had three.
"We just dominated the whole game," Huffman said. "We just kept hitting at them, that was the main thing."
Leopold played with the lead throughout the championship match, pulling out to leads of 8-3 in the first game and 11-3 in the second.
"We started off good and we got the momentum going our way," Huffman said.
Jansen said Leopold usually steps it up a notch once they get in front of a team.
"If we do get up, we usually play really good," she said.
Besides Leopold's hitters, Bismarck had to fight a standing room only crowd that was clearly pro-Leopold. The Advance colors of orange and black were drowned out by a sea of Wildcat blue.
"It's the fans, they get us up," Jansen said. "We have great fans."
Despite a strong team effort, the tournament belonged to Jansen. Jansen put up 37 kills for the day, along with seven blocks. Every time Leopold needed a big point, especially in the first match with Gideon, Jansen was there to pound a set down.
"Holly was just unstoppable," Huffman said. "We got the ball to her. We had good passing and good setting."
With the win Leopold will make its first trip to the state tournament since 1997 when the Wildcats took first. Leopold will travel to Warrensburg for the state finals starting at 9 a.m. Friday. The other teams making the trip in Class 1 are Crest Ridge, Eminence and Green Ridge.
"None of us have been to state so its a new experience," Wesbecher said.
Jansen said despite the teams lack of state tournament experience, she is confident they can do well.
"I hope we play like ourselves," she said, "and if we do we should get pretty far."
For Leopold -- ranked No. 1 in the SEMO Top 10 poll -- its sectional performance was just a part of what has been a dominating season. Huffman said a key to the teams success has been their ability to take the season a game at a time, and not get caught up in all the hype.
"They're a very level-headed bunch of girls, and they know what they have to do," she said.
For Leopold Wendy Vandeven had 32 assists in the championship match, and 61 assists on the day. Lori VanderMierden came up big in the first match with 19 digs.
For the host Hornets, they finished their season with a 26-7-1 record. Dana Williams led the way with 12 kills and two blocks in their 5-15, 13-15 loss to Bismarck. Nicole Tropf added 10 kills and Alicia Broshuis had nine assists.
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