The College of the Ozarks Lady Cat Volleyball team traveled to Cottey College Wednesday to wrap up the 2021 regular season. Back at full strength and wanting to build toward post season play, the Lady Cats were on a mission to finish strong.
With four quick errors by the Comets and a Ryley Thixton kill, the Lady Cats jumped out to an early 5-1 lead. Cottey answered with back to back points but the Lady Cats continued to attack. Kills by Abi Menzies and Morgan Austin put the Lady Cats up 11-4 before Cottey would respond. Cottey put together a small run with three straight points and made it 15-10, Lady Cats, just past the midway point. The two teams traded points until a 6-0 C of O run opened the gap and put the Comets on the ropes. Cottey managed one more point before a Brooklyn Crawford service ace secured the set one win, 25-14.
Set two proved to be more of a battle as Cottey was determined to avoid the 2-0 deficit. The Lady Cats took an early 2-0 lead but Cottey had regrouped and came charging back. A 7-1 Comet run put the Lady Cats down 7-3. The Lady Cats responded with a 5-1 run of their own behind a pair of Mica Chadwell service aces and a Thixton kill to even the score 8-8. Cottey continued to apply pressure and maintained a slim advantage just past the midway point, 15-13. Kills by Abi Menzies, Kiley Counts, Morgan Austin and Ryley Thixton put the Lady Cats on top 18-15 and they would not look back. Cottey continued to challenge but the Lady Cats fought them off to preserve the 25-22 win in set two.
Set three began as a back and forth affair as well. The Lady Cats maintained a slim lead until Cottey tied the score at seven. The teams split the next eight points and the score was knotted at 11. Cottey rallied for a two-point advantage, 13-11, when the Lady Cats got kills by Counts, Thixton, and Bailey Chamberlain build an 18-14 lead. The Lady Cats would get a pair of service aces from Mica Chadwell and kills by Morgan Austin and Brooklyn Crawford to go on a 7-1 run and close out the set, 25-15. The 3-0 sweep finished out the Lady Cats regular season as they now prepare for post season play.
The Lady Cats put together a solid team effort as Brooklyn Crawford led with eight kills, Ryley Thixton – 7, Morgan Austin – 5, and Kiley Counts, Bailey Chamberlain, and Abi Menzies each added three. Morgan Austin recorded 17 assists while Mica Chadwell and Kiley Counts led the defensive effort with 10 digs each.
The Lady Cats will host the NCCAA Regional at Keeter Gymnasium on November 18. The NCCAA National Championship Tournament will also be hosted by College of the Ozarks on December 2-4.