After a full weekend of action in Batesville, AR, the Lady Cat Volleyball team returned to action Tuesday night to face their most recent opponent, the Lyon College Scots. The Lady Cats bested the Scots in four sets Saturday evening and avenging that loss was a high priority for Lyon. The Lady Cats on the other hand, had different plans.
Set one was a display of the determination from both sides as the two teams traded points and matched each other’s intensity. Lyon put together the first scoring steak and built an early 7-4 lead. The Lady Cats continued to challenge but Lyon held their ground. Bailey Chamberlain slammed home a kill to cut the score to 8-6 but a well-played rally was finished by the Scots to regain the serve. The Lady Cats put together their first scoring run with A Ryley Thixton kill, followed by four straight points off Mica Chadwell serves. With the Lady Cats now leading 11-9, Lyon was forced to take a timeout. Chadwell and the Lady Cats continued to apply pressure in hopes of building their lead. An Abi Menzies kill and a receiving error by the Scots gave C of O their largest lead, 15-10, and induced yet another Lyon timeout. Maintaining their intensity, the Lady Cats scored four more unanswered points out of the huddle and quickly led 19-10. The Scots finally broke the serve and tried to climb back into the contest, but C of O continued their attack. A highly contested rally gave Lyon a point to make the score 21-14. The Lady Cats then scored three straight points to bring up set point, 24-14. Lyon was not ready to give in and would add three more tallies to their total but an error for the Scots finished to seal the 25-17 win.
Set two started just like the first set, with Lyon jumping out to an early lead, 3-0. A Brooklyn Crawford kill would break the streak and get the Lady Cats on the board. Lyon continued the effort and gradually added to the lead. Trailing 6-3, the Lady Cats got back to back kills by Ryley Thixton to cut the deficit to 6-5. The battle was on and trading points became the norm. Lyon would put together the next string of points however and build a 13-8 lead. It was time for the Lady Cats to take a timeout to regroup. Solid defensive play by the Scots kept the momentum on their side and the deficit quickly grew to 18-10. The Lady Cats needed a spark to turn the tide. A valiant comeback effort gave the Lady Cats a glimmer of hope, but unfortunately, the spark did not come soon enough and the Scots took set two, 25-15.
For the first time in the match, the Lady Cats scored first in set three and took an early 3-0 lead. Lyon answered the challenge however and fought back to score four straight points and take an 8-7 lead. A Thixton kill tied the score again and it was back to a point trading battle. Brooklyn Crawford slammed home a kill to give the Lady Cats an 11-10 lead but they could not string points together. Neither team could gain more than a two-point advantage as the back and forth affair continued. An Abi Menzies kill gave the Lady Cats a 22-20 advantage and forced a Lyon timeout. The Lady Cats ran with the momentum and scored three straight points, capped by a set point kill by Abi Menzies to win the set, 25-20.
The fourth set had the makings of another tight one from the opening serve. The Lady Cats led early, 3-1, but Lyon came charging back and scored three unanswered points to take a 4-3 lead. The momentum began to shift to the Scots as they continued to score and built their lead to 9-4. A Bailey Chamberlain kill followed by a massive block by Morgan Austin would cut the lead to 10-7, but it was not enough to slow the Scots momentum. The Lady Cats were looking for a game changer. A huge dig by Leatha Keller may have just been that play. The Lady Cats battled back to a 14-14 tie, then built a 16-14 lead. The Scots could feel the swing of momentum and quickly called a time out. The strategy paid off as they were able to score the next four points for an 18-16 lead. Tension mounted as both teams continued to battle. Lyon built a 20-17 lead and the pressure was on the Lady Cats. They stepped up to the challenge and scored two straight points to pull within one, 20-19. After scoring a point, Lyon won an intense and long rally to go up 22-19 and force a Lady Cat timeout. A Bailey Chamberlain kill out of the huddle returned the serve to the Lady Cats. Chamberlain promptly produced a point scoring block and a well-placed shot to tie the score. A Lyon error gave the Lady Cats the 23-22 lead and forced a timeout for the visitors. The next point went to the Scots and Coach Muckenthaler called a quick timeout of her own. Tied at 23, it was do or die time for the Scots if they were going to force a fifth set. The Scots stepped up to the challenge and scored the next two points to take set four, 25-23.
For the first time in the young season, the Lady Cats were in a fifth set battle. Both teams were ready to leave it all on the floor. The Scots got on the board first and took an early 3-0 lead. A Brooklyn Crawford-Kiley Counts block would tie the score at three and an error by Lyon gave the Lady Cats their first lead. The lead was short lived as the Scots took six of the next seven points and led 10-5. With Lyon just five points away from the 15 needed to win, the Lady Cats took a timeout to regroup. The Scots added two more points before the Lady Cats could break the serve and the pressure was on once again. The Lady Cats could not get the set turned around and Lyon pulled out the win, 15-8, and took the match 3-2.
Abi Menzies threw down 19 kills. Brooklyn Crawford added 12 and Ryley Thixton chipped in 10. In a great defensive team effort, Mica Chadwell recorded 29 digs, while Ryley Thixton added, 24, Morgan Austin -19, Leatha Keller-11, and Abi Menzies tacked on 10. The Lady Cats drop to 5-2 on the year and Lyon improves to 7-3.
The Lady Cats will be back in action Friday and Saturday, September 10th and 11th at the Evangel Classic in Springfield, MO.