Point Lookout, MO - After a tough loss to the Owls of William Woods University in Fulton, MO earlier in the week, the Lady Cats were set to host the Stars of Stephens College on Saturday at Keeter Gymnasium. The Lady Cats had squeaked out a five-set win in Columbia on August 30 and they were looking to make it a more convincing victory at home.
The opening set gave the impression that the Stars were determined to get revenge for the earlier loss. The Lady Cats jumped out to an early 3-0 lead with kills by Bri Linehan and Emma Godwin, but the Stars quickly bounced back to take an 8-5 advantage. The teams traded points to an 18-18 tie before the Stars put together a run. The Lady Cats battled, but the Stars took advantage of the late momentum and came away with a 25-20 win in the opening set.
The Stars momentum carried over to the start of set two and the Lady Cats found themselves on the early defensive. The Lady Cats slowly clawed their way back into contention and a Brooklyn Crawford kill tied the score, 6-6. Crawford slammed down another kill and Bailey Chamberlain drove home back-to-back service aces to give the Lady Cats a 10-7 lead. Stephens battled back to even the score and the teams began the race to the finish. Tied 17-17, the Lady Cats began their push to 25. Chamberlain and Crawford kills were backed up by another Chamberlain ace and a Grace Hancock kill before the Stars could get a point. A Stephens error was followed by another ball slammed home by Crawford and a Kamryn Link ace sealed the 25-18 win for the Lady Cats.
Set three began as another tug of war and neither team wanted to give in. With the score knotted at 9-9, Stephens claimed the momentum and put together a 6-1 run to back the Lady Cats into a corner. A series of Stars errors sandwiched a Chamberlain kill and a Jocee Pettyjohn ace, and the score was soon tied again, 16-16. The teams traded points to a 21-21 tie and Stephens was the first to emerge with a lead of more than one point. Climbing to a 24-21 advantage, the set seemed well in hand for the Stars. The Lady Cats, however, were not ready to give in. A Bri Linehan kill kept the Lady Cats alive and a Mica Chadwell ace inched the score closer. With Chadwell continuing to place serves in the right spots to attack the Stars, three straight errors gave the Lady Cats the 26-24, come from behind win.
With a big come from behind win in set three, the Lady Cats clearly had the momentum heading into set four. The two teams had traded jabs all evening and the Lady Cats wanted to secure the win to avoid a fifth set. Stephens had other plans and they came out swinging in the early going. Holding the upper hand, Stephens built a 3-1 lead, then climbed to a 10-7 advantage. A Stephens error and a Kamryn Link ace cut the gap to 12-10, and a Linehan kill was followed by a Stars error to even the score. Stephens continued to answer the Lady Cat challenges and time was running out. With the score knotted at 18-18, a Grace Hancock kill, and a Stephens error gave the Lady Cats a small lead. Stephens responded and it was a race to the finish. Tension mounted as the score climbed to 22-22. A Stephens error was followed by a Mica Chadwell ace and Bailey Chamberlain pounded home a kill for the final point to secure a Lady Cat win, 25-22, and the match win, 3-1.
Bailey Chamberlain led the offensive attack with 10 kills while Emma Godwin and Grace Hancock added eight each. Bri Linehan and Brooklyn Crawford each tacked on seven kills. Kamryn Link set up 32 assists and four Lady Cats logged double figure digs with Mica Chadwell recording 22, Emma Godwinn added 13, and Jocee Pettyjohn and Anna Howe chipped in 12 and 11 respectively.
The Lady Cats will be back in action Saturday as they host Haskell Indian Nations University and Crowley’s Ridge College in a tri-match at Keeter Gymnasium. The Lady Cats will face Crowley’s Ridge at 10 AM and Haskell at 2 PM. Crowley’s Ridge and Haskell will square off at noon.