College of the Ozarks vs Baptist Bible College
Following a tough match Friday evening, the Lady Cats were ready to turn the page. With less than a 24-hour time frame to regroup, the Lady Cats were set to take on Baptist Bible College and Hannibal-LaGrange University in a Tri-Match at Keeter Gymnasium Saturday.
As might be expected in a Saturday morning match, both teams started a bit slow and neither could capture the early momentum. Trading points was the norm from the opening serve in set one, with the Lady Cats maintaining a narrow advantage. Kills by Morgan Austin and Brooklyn Crawford put the Lady Cats up 11-8 and the momentum began to build. A pair of Patriot errors and a Bri Linehan kill took the score to 14-8 and BBC needed a timeout to regroup. The Patriots broke the serve out of the huddle, but C of O quickly went back to work. Kills by Bri Linehan and Christa Duffel sparked another Lady Cat run and the lead climbed to 19-11. BBC responded and cut into the lead but kills by Morgan Austin and Brooklyn Crawford sandwiched a Mica Chadwell service ace and the lead grew to 22-14. Kills by Crawford and Kiley Counts were followed by a BBC service error and the Lady Cats took set one, 25-17.
The second set began in similar fashion as the first, this time with BBC holding the early advantage. The Lady Cats took their first lead, 6-5 off a BBC return error but still, neither team could pull away. C of O used a Bri Linehan kill to go up by two, 9-7, but BBC answered and the tug-of -war was on. With Mica Chadwell serving, Grace Hancock slammed down a kill and a pair of BBC errors bumped the lead to 14-9 and BBC called a timeout to regroup. The timeout stalled the Lady Cat momentum, but BBC was unable to chip away at the lead. The teams traded points until a Paige Durham kill increased the gap to 18-12. BBC continued to battle, and the Lady Cats struggled to put them away. BBC cut the gap to four, then to three. A Christa Duffel kill broke the string and the Lady Cats finished the set with a kill from Brooklyn Crawford and a BBC error. The Lady Cats took the set 25-19.
Set three was all Lady Cats in the early going. Kills by Counts, Crawford, Duffel and Austin led to a 12-4 lead, but BBC continued to battle. A 4-1 BBC run cut into the lead, but the Lady Cats answered to provide some space. Leading 17-8, C of O seemed to have the set under control. The Patriots made one final push, but the attack of the Lady Cats was too much. Kills by Madelyn Sestak and Bri Linehan were teamed with a Leatha Keller service ace and the Lady Cats sealed the win 25-14, and took the match, 3-0.
Bri Linehan led the offensive attack with 11 kills, followed by Brooklyn Crawford with nine, and Christa Duffel with seven. Morgan Austin set up 31 assists to go with four kills. Mica Chadwell paced the defense with 28 digs, followed by Kiley Counts with 10 and Morgan Austin tacked on nine.
College of the Ozarks vs Hannibal-LaGrange University
After both teams took care of Baptist Bible College in three sets, the Lady Cats and the Trojans of Hannibal-LaGrange were set to square off in the final match of the day. If the BBC performance by each team was used as a measuring stick, it appeared the two teams were evenly matched, and an intense battle was about to ensue.
The opening set verified that theory as the teams traded points in the early going. Neither team was willing to flinch, and the score was quickly tied at 7-7. Kills by Bri Linehan and Grace Hancock provided a small gap in the score as the Lady Cats went up 13-8. The two teams began trading points again with HLGU slowly chipping away at the Lady Cat lead. Leading by a slim three points, a Trojan error combined with a Christa Duffel kill put the Lady Cats up 21-16. HLGU was able to add on a pair of points but the Lady Cats used a couple of Trojan errors and Bri Linehan kills to seal the set one win, 25-18.
Set two was also a tug of war from the beginning but Hannibal-LaGrange seemed to hold the upper hand. The two teams exchanged points to a 15-15 tie and both teams continued to battle. With a few ties and lead changes down the stretch, this set was goiing down to the wire. With the score tied at 22-22, the Trojans grabbed the momentum and scored the final three points to take set two, 25-22.
With the first two sets being split, the third set would tip the scale and neither team wanted to feel as though they had their backs to the wall with a 2-1 deficit. Trading points had become the norm and neither team could seem to break free to secure lead. Playing to an 11-11 tie, both teams were playing with determination. HLGU snagged the upper hand with a kill but Christa Duffel responded for the Lady Cats. A quick burst by the Trojans forced a C of O timeout with the largest gap of the game, 16-12. HLGU. The Trojans continued to apply pressure and the Lady Cats were not able to keep pace. HLGU maintained the lead and took the set, 25-20.
The pressure was now on the Lady Cats and Coach Muckenthaler needed to rally her troops in order to come from behind. Determined not to give in, the Lady Cats came out with a vengeance and jumped to an early 4-1 lead. The Trojans regrouped form the early stagger and began to battle back but the Lady Cats continued to attack. Kills and a service ace by Brooklyn Crawford, provided a gap and the Lady Cat lead was bumped to 12-6. Solid play on both sides of the net boosted the Lady Cat confidence and they used kills by Bri Linehan and Grace Hancock to keep the pressure on. Leading 23-16, Crawford stepped back to serve again and delivered back to back aces to secure the win, 25-16.
The momentum had clearly shifted to the side of the Lady Cats and not it was up to the Trojans to turn the tide. The fifth and deciding set was underway and the two teams traded points as the set began. The Lady Cats took the early advantage of a kill by Grace Hancock and the lead was 7-5. HLGU answered but the Lady Cats continued to use their surge of momentum. Kills by Grace Hancock and Christa Duffel forced a Trojan timeout and the Lady Cats were inching close to the win. HLGU refused to go away and with the score sitting at 12-10, C of O, the Lady Cats called a timeout. The two teams traded points out of the huddle, but the Lady Cats maintained their advantage. Leading 13-12, a Trojan error was followed by a Brooklyn Crawford kill and the Lady Cats took the set, 15-12, and the match, 3-2.
Brooklyn Crawford recorded 18 kills in the win, to go along with 12 for Kiley Counts, 10 for Bri Linehan and nine for Grace Hancock. Morgan Austin notched 51 assists and Mica Chadwell snagged 38 digs in the win.
The Lady Cats are in action Monday against Stephens College at home and Friday they will host Ozark Christian College.