A few years ago Jordan Strickland didn't like the idea of playing setter for Henry Clay's volleyball team.
"I thought the hitters got all the fame, and I wanted to get all the fame," Strickland said with a laugh.
"But after a while I realized if you're setting, you get the ball every time and you get to be in control.
"Now I love it."
And the Blue Devils love Strickland, a first-team all-stater, setting them up for success, including a run to the state semifinals last year, and a 43rd District title Wednesday night.
With Strickland having a hand in what seemed like almost every kill, Henry Clay, rated No. 6 in the state, beat No. 16 Lafayette 25-16, 25-12 to repeat as district champs.
Both teams advance to the 11th Region tournament next week at Henry Clay. History says this district's winner and runner-up usually meet again in the region title match.
"That's the way it's turned out the last eight or nine years," Henry Clay Coach Dale Grupe said. "I'd say it's a 99 percent chance we'll see Lafayette again next week."
If that happens, Strickland said the Devils "sent a message" to Lafayette that "we're here to play and to win."
Henry Clay has beaten Lafayette nine times in a row since 2006.
The Generals looked overmatched Wednesday, partly because they were without high-energy defensive specialist Chandler Kinley. She banged her head in Tuesday's win over Tates Creek, and had a headache on Wednesday.
Coach Chris Langston said Kinley didn't suffer a concussion, but she was held out as a precaution.
Without Kinley on the court, Lafayette looked out of sync as it fell behind Henry Clay 15-4 in the first set.
"Lafayette not having her was huge," Grupe said. "She adds stability to their passing game and leadership.
"But she's a tough kid and she'll be back next week."
Lafayette did battle back to make it respectable, but the Devils were too strong behind the play of Strickland, Emily Stromberg, Elle Barnett, Nicole Jenkins and Emily McClendon.
Henry Clay also started the second set strong, rolling to an 18-6 lead. The Generals again fought back, behind Emily Kincaid, Sarah Jenkins, Annie King and Courtney Wright. But the comeback hill was too steep to climb.
Langston thought his team got out of its comfort level by trying to do too much.
"That's part of learning for us," he said. "When you play teams you know are good, you've got to stick to doing what you do best."
Lafayette did collect the district runner-up trophy, its first post-season hardware in a while. "I told the girls we haven't had one of these since 2006, so I'm very proud of them," Langston said.