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Jenks turns the tables on Edmond Memorial to claim Class 6A volleyball crown

Trojans get sweep to claim second state title in three seasons

TULSA, OKLAHOMA - It’s hard to imagine any team having more motivation than Edmond Memorial heading into the 6A state volleyball tournament. 

As the defending champions, the Bulldogs came in looking to hold on to their crown and possibly start a new dynasty.

However, if one team may have had even more reason to be the last one standing, it would have been Jenks. Since they lost in a thrilling five sets to that same Bulldogs' squad in the 2022 championship game, they had a lot on the line when the two teams met up in this year’s 6A state title contest.

That proved to be enough for the Trojans as they rolled to a 3-0 sweep to claim the 2023 6A volleyball championship at Union High School's UMAC.

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“This was crazy. Honestly, just losing last year really fired us up to come together,” Jenks senior Caroline Wood said. “We faced a lot of adversity this year, so just coming together as a team and playing for each other was key.”

It is the sixth title for the Trojan (34-5) program. That includes their second in the last three years, having also won it in 2021.

Jenks volleyball players celebrate after winning the Class 6A state championship Oct. 21, 2023. 

Jenks volleyball players celebrate after winning the Class 6A state championship Oct. 21, 2023. 

Just to get to the finale, Jenks had to knock off No. 7 Owasso and No. 6 Bishop Kelley. But coach Tanna Smith had a feeling Memorial (29-6) would be waiting for them again.

“Our girls have been focused from the first day that we took the court going into the season,” Smith said. “We knew Memorial was going to be a force to be reckoned with. We knew that Bishop Kelley was going to be. We didn't really know what some other teams were going to look like, but we anticipated either a final with Memorial or possibly Mount St. Mary, to be quite honest with you.

"So we got into the gym (Saturday) morning and watched a little film as a team. We talked about what our plan was, and then the girls just executed it 100 percent of what we focused on, and what we wanted to achieve (Saturday).”

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From the very start of the match, it was the Trojans who were the more aggressive and composed team. They scored five straight points to open the first set and never let up.

Whether it was Mopeloa Ojo, Maren Johnson or Kynli Kirkendoll, the Jenks front line controlled the contest as they went on to win the set, 25-18.

It was a different story in the second set. After Jenks took an early lead, Edmond Memorial battled their way back and jumped ahead, 15-14.

However, the Trojans settled down and responded with an 11-6 run to close out the set and take a 2-0 advantage.

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“Honestly, just staying composed, staying confident in ourselves and not worrying about what's happening on their side,” Wood said. “But just worrying about our game (was important).”

That seemed to take all of the steam out of the Bulldogs. Jenks took all the drama out of the match as they rolled to a 25-15 victory in the third set to close out the night.

With 10 seniors on the roster, closing out their volleyball careers as the best in the state again was the perfect way to end the season.

“We put so much effort and work into this program and we were just ready to win the last volleyball game,” said Johnson. “Got to go out with a bang.”

Jenks players celebrate during the Class 6A state championship match Oct. 21, 2023. 

Jenks players celebrate during the Class 6A state championship match Oct. 21, 2023. 

-- Michael Kinney | @SBLiveOK