RAWLINS – It was business as usual for Outlaws volleyball (29-5, 5-0) as they defeated the Burns Broncs (7-21-1, 1-4) in three quick sets on Friday in Rawlins. The Outlaws faithful also took time before the varsity match to honor lone senior Jordan Jerome for senior night.

The Outlaws left no doubt in this 3A Southeast matchup against the Broncs, shutting them out 25-14, 25-13 and 25-12. In the first set, the Outlaws jumped out to a quick 6-1 lead. The Broncs worked to keep the set within reach, at one point pulling the score to a 14-14 tie. That would be the closest the score ever got.

After a Burns service error put the score at 15-14, Jerome stepped back to serve for the Outlaws. She served fire, helping put the Outlaws in scoring position for nine consecutive serves. Her 10th serve, an ace, ended the set, giving Rawlins a 25-14 victory.

“Those serves take lots of practice and concentration,” said Jerome. “I felt really good tonight.”

The Outlaws kept rolling into the second set, jumping out to a massive lead, this time 20-9. Again, Jerome was able to string together five solid serves to put the Outlaws in position to close out the set. Her service run was ended when Burns was able to sneak in a kill. The rotation put Jerome into the front row, an unenviable position for the opposition, as Jerome is as dangerous in the front row as she is behind the service line.

Once again, Jerome would end the set and secure the victory for the Outlaws with a massive middle kill to put Rawlins up 25-13.

The Outlaws ended the match with a commanding win in the third set, 25-12. Jerome was, again, able to string together a series of serves, including two consecutive aces, that helped secure the victory.

Shortly after her rotation in the serving position ended, head coach Aubrey Griffiths made the decision to pull the starting lineup in order to give the non-starters some playing time. At this point, the set was 19-9 in favor of Rawlins. It felt like a symbolic “changing of the guard.” Jerome left the court to a standing ovation and, from the bench, cheered on the players who would attempt to fill the large void she will undoubtedly leave when she graduates.

Griffiths noted the match against Burns went exactly how she expected it to. She said the team played well and will enter the final week of the regular season on a high note. Of her only senior, Griffiths had nothing but praise.

“She is just an amazing player,” she said. “She can play from the front row, back row and she has a great serve. She has meant so much to this program the last four years. It’s going to be really hard to replace her.”

Playing in front of her home audience for the second to last time, it was evident that Jerome wanted to soak up every minute of her senior night. With a smile fixed on her face, she ruled the court, amassing 20 total serves, including 5 aces. She racked up a handful of kills, assists and blocks as well as displaying her usual command at the net in one-on-one scenarios.

Even though her time as an Outlaw is quickly coming to an end, Jerome has no intention of leaving volleyball behind. She will play next season for Coach Hayley Kobza at McCook Community College in McCook, Neb. She plans to study veterinarian technologies.

“I love this sport and I’m ready to play at the next level. It’s been a dream of mine my whole life and I’ll get to play with a great group of girls next year,” said Jerome of her plans after high school volleyball.

Jerome has been the only volleyball player in her class since she was a sophomore, putting her in a solo leadership position as she moved into her senior year. While not always easy to be the only senior and the one expected to be a leader, Jerome was happy to take the role on.

“It has been an honor playing for Rawlins High School and playing with this team. These girls are my family,” said Jerome, still smiling.

With senior night now behind her, there is still business to attend to in what’s left of the 2019 season. There is just one goal on Jerome’s mind between now and the end of her Rawlins High School volleyball career: a state championship.

The Outlaws will travel to Torrington on Friday to face the Trailblazers in another 3A Southeast showdown. Then, in their last home event of the season, will face Wheatland on Saturday Oct. 26 starting at 1 p.m. in the RHS gymnasium.

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