The College of the Ozarks Lady Bobcat Volleyball team welcomed the Haskell Indian Nations University Fightin’ Indians to Keeter Gymnasium Friday night. After a break in the game schedule of nearly a week, the Lady Cats were back in action looking to get on a roll.
The Lady Cats jumped out to an early 5-1 lead to start the night, but the Fightin’ Indians settled in and began to battle back. A Brooklyn Crawford kill boosted the lead to 7-2 but Haskell answered with four straight points to make it 7-6. The two teams traded points until the Lady Cats rattled off a 7-1 run to take an 18-11 lead. Haskell broke the string, but the Lady Cats continued to apply pressure. A series of Fightin’ Indian errors was mixed in with a pair of Bri Linehan kills and the Lady Cats moved to set point, 24-15. An attack error by the Fightin’ Indians followed and the Lady Cats scored the final point to take set one, 25-15.
Set two had a different feel from the opening serve. The two teams traded points with neither able to pull away. A 3-3 tie was broken by the Lady Cats and three consecutive points provided a bit of breathing room. Haskell responded and soon the battle was on to a 10-10 tie. Another C of O run was sparked by a pair of Grace Hancock kills and the lead was soon back to 16-11. Brooklyn Crawford joined the hit parade and her kill bumped the score to 17-12. Haskell continued to stay close but solid play at the net by the Lady Cats kept them at bay. The Lady Cats maintained the five-point advantage until Haskell challenged and put together a run of their own. Three unanswered points cut the lead to 20-18 and the Lady Cats needed to respond. C of O broke the serve and a Christa Duffel kill followed to inch the score up to 22-19. Haskell was determined to hang tough and the Lady Cats had work to do. A Bri Linehan kill opened the gap to 24-20 but Haskell answered. With set point looming, Haskell scored two straight before a Bri Linehan kill sealed the win, 25-22.
With momentum on their side and the Fightin’ Indians backs to the wall, the Lady Cats came out swinging in set three. Three kills by Linehan, one by Grace Hancock, and another by Brooklyn Crawford ignited a 7-1 run to start the set. Haskell quickly burned a timeout to try and break the Lady Cat momentum. The strategy paid off and Haskell picked up the first point out of the huddle. The Lady Cats wasted no time regaining the serve with a Hancock kill and Crawford followed with another trio of kills to bump the lead up to 11-2. Haskell answered with two straight points, but the Lady Cats continued to attack. Point by point the Lady Cats continued to assert their dominance and soon pulled away to a 20-9 lead. Haskell mounted one last furious comeback attempt, but the Lady Cats were able to hold them off and took set three, 25-18, and the match 3-0.
Brooklyn Crawford led the attack with 14 kills and Bri Linehan and Grace Hancock slammed home 11 and nine respectively. Morgan Austin set up 34 assists while Mica Chadwell anchored the defensive effort with 22 digs. Grace Hancock tacked on 12 Digs and Kiley Counts added nine. Morgan Austin chipped in eight digs of her own in the defensive effort.
After the win, Coach Muckenthaler stated; “I thought Brooklyn (Crawford) did a great job pacing our offense with Bailey (Chamberlain) out due to injury. She was incredibly efficient from the front line and hit .545 – which is her best so far this season. As usual, Mica (Chadwell) did a great job leading from the backrow with her 22 digs and 4 aces. I am excited to head on the road tomorrow to Oklahoma Wesleyan and hopefully continue to build on what we’ve established with this young group.”
The Lady Cats are back in action Saturday as they head to Oklahoma Wesleyan for a tri-match with Cottey College (2 PM) and OKWU (4 PM). The next home action will take place Tuesday as the Lady Cats host Lyon College in a 6 PM start.