The College of the Ozarks Lady Bobcats returned to Keeter Gymnasium Tuesday evening to host Lyon College.
In what looked to be an intense night of competition, the Lady Cats squeaked out wins in the first two sets, (25-23, 25-23) before taking control in the third and final set for a 25-14 win. In their sixth 3-0 sweep of the season, the Lady Cats improved to 8-6 overall and continue to mature and improve with every match.
In the opening set, the Lady Cats jumped out to an early 3-0 lead. Lyon stepped on the court ready to play, however, and they soon battled back to tie the score 6-6. The two teams traded points to an 8-8 tie before Kills by Bri Linehan and Grace Hancock helped bump the Lady Cats up to a three-point advantage, 13-10. A couple of Scots errors grew the lead to 15-10 and the Lady Cats continued to apply pressure. The five-point spread continued until the Scots put together a run to tie it, 19-19. The two teams traded points to a 22-22 tie and the intensity grew. The Scots were the first to flinch as the Lady Cats used a Bri Linehan kill and a Lyon error to seal the win, 25-23.
Set two picked up where the previous one left off. The intense competition was on from the opening serve and the teams traded points to an early 3-3 tie. The Scots put together a 7-1 run and took the early momentum. C of O began to fight back, however, and soon had the score knotted at 10. Kills by Brooklyn Crawford and Grace Hancock sparked a run by the Lady Cats and when the dust settled, they had built a 19-10 lead. Lyon was not ready to give in and they locked down the defense to begin to chipping away at the Lady Cat lead. Point by point, Lyon fought back, and the Lady Cats had no answer. With the lead cut to 22-21, the Lady Cats needed to buckle down. The teams traded points to a 23-23 tie before a Kiley Counts kill and a Lyon College error secured another 25-23 win.
With the momentum of two close sets going their way, the Lady Cats came out hitting in set three. A 4-1 early run boosted the C of O confidence and the pressure was on Lyon to respond. Every attack by the Scots was met with solid resistance and the Lady Cats continued to pull away. A pair of Christa Duffel kills bumped the Lady Cat lead to 14-6 and the set was seemingly in hand. The Scots scored a pair of quick points to cut into the lead, but the Lady Cats answered. Kills by Bri Linehan and Mica Chadwell expanded the gap to 20-11 and the Scots were unable to regroup. A Bri Linehan ace and a Brooklyn Crawford kill were coupled with a pair of Lyon errors and the Lady Cats took set three, 25-14, and the match 3-0.
Following the match, Coach Muckenthaler stated; “Our first two set were a little rough but we battled through and pulled out the wins. Having them (Lyon) down 2-0 gave us the momentum in the third set, and I was proud of how we came out and took control.”
Bri Linehan led the offensive attack with nine kills while, Christa Duffel and Grace Hancock both slammed down seven, and Brooklyn Crawford added six. Morgan Austin had another solid night at the net with 31 assists and Mica Chadwell again anchored the defense with 24 digs.
The Lady Cats will hit the road this weekend for the University of Health, Science and Pharmacy Classic in St. Louis. Match times are 5 PM and 7 PM Friday and 10 AM and 2 PM Saturday.