After a week away from game action, the Lady Cats returned home to Keeter Gymnasium to host a tri-match involving College of the Ozarks, Crowley’s Ridge College, and Haskell Indian Nations University.
C of O vs Crowley’s Ridge College
The Lady Cats opened the day with a 10 AM match against Crowley’s Ridge College. Short-handed due to injuries, the Lady Cats spent the week making adjustments in preparation for the weekend tilt. As the match began, the injuries seemed to be of no consequence as a pair of service aces by Bailey Chamberlain and kills by Brooklyn Crawford and Grace Hancock propelled the Lady Cats to an early 10-3 lead. Christa Duffel and Bailey Chamberlain slammed home a pair of kills and the Lady Cats continued to apply pressure. The Pioneers soon found some rhythm and slowly chipped away at the gap. A Bri Linehan kill broke the string and the Lady Cats led 16-10. Kills by Hancock, Duffel, and Chamberlain helped maintain the lead, but the Pioneers continued to battle. A CRC rally cut the lead to 20-18 and Coach Muckenthaler took a timeout to get her team back in sync. Crowley’s Ridge took the first two points out of the huddle before the Lady Cats could break the serve and it looked like set one would go down to the wire. A Grace Hancock kill preserved the slim Lady Cat advantage, and a Linehan kill forced a Pioneer timeout with the lead standing at 24-21. Another Linehan kill out of the huddle secured the 25-21 win.
The Pioneers scored the opening point of set two, but Bri Linehan picked up where she left off in set one to tie the score with a kill. The teams traded points in the early going, but kills by Grace Hancock, Christa Duffel, and Bri Linehan maintained a narrow Lady Cat advantage. A 6-2 Lady Cat run provided some breathing room, but the Pioneers were not ready to concede. An Anna Howe ace bumped the Lady Cat lead to 17-11 and the Pioneers took a timeout. Anna Howe provided two more aces out of the huddle and a Duffel kill pushed the lead to 21-11. Kills by Crawford and Linehan were followed by a Chamberlain kill and the Lady Cats took set two, 25-13.
The Lady Cats used a Pioneer error, and a pair of Grace Hancock kills to take a quick 3-0 lead in set three. A Jocee Pettyjohn ace expanded the lead and the Pioneers needed to respond. Bailey Chamberlain, Madelyn Sestak and Brooklyn Crawford drove home a trio of kills to add to the lead and The Pioneer’s backs were against the wall. As the Pioneers battled, kills by Hancock, Crawford, and Duffel preserved the Lady Cat advantage. Kills by Hancock and Sestak added to the lead and the Lady Cats inched closer to the three-set sweep. A Linehan point off a block forced a Pioneer timeout with the score standing at 20-13. The Lady Cats scored four straight points out of the huddle and led 24-13 before the Pioneers broke the serve. The Pioneers managed one more point, but a Bri Linehan kill secured the 25-15 win and the 3-0 sweep.
Grace Hancock led the offensive attack with nine kills. Brooklyn Crawford added seven kills and Bri Linehan and Bailey Chamberlain each tacked on six. Emma Godwin and Emma McIntire teamed up for 17 and 14 assists respectively. Mica Chadwell held down the back row with 22 Digs.
C of O vs Haskell Indian Nations University
After the opening match sweep of Crowley’s Ridge, the Lady Cats were set to face the Indians of Haskell Indian Nations University. The Lady Cats defeated the Indians in three sets back in September, but that was at full strength with no notable injuries. The Lady Cats would need to put together another team effort if they wanted to repeat the September performance.
The Lady Cats used kills by Grace Hancock and Bri Linehan to take an early lead, but the Indians quickly responded. Trading points became the norm, and the battle was on. Haskell took the lead and answered each Lady Cat challenge to maintain a slim advantage. The Indians continued to attack and the Lady Cats slowly lost ground. Trailing 14-9, the Lady Cats needed to find an answer. A long rally went to the Lady Cats, ending with a Brooklyn Crawford kill, and the hope was a change in momentum. Haskell put the next point on the board and Coach Muckenthaler took a timeout, trailing 17-12. The timeout was effective, and the Lady Cats began to chip away at the gad. Haskell continued to hold off the Lady Cats and slowly inched toward 25 points. Facing a 21-15 deficit, the Lady Cats took their final timeout. The Indians continued to apply pressure and the Lady Cats were unable to put together the needed run. Haskell took set one, 25-17.
Set two appeared to be a battle from the opening serve as well. The two teams traded points from the onset, but the Indians seemed to have the momentum and the upper hand. Kills by Grace Hancock and Brooklyn Crawford kept the Lady Cats close, but they could not seem to get over the hump. Trailing 7-5, the Lady Cats needed to respond. Kills by Duffel, Crawford, and Linihan fueled a 5-0 run, and the Lady Cats had some life. The momentum was short-lived however, as the Indians bounced right back. The Indians answered with a run of their own and soon regained the lead, 12-11. Trading points began again, and the Indians continued to hold an edge. The tension mounted as the score climbed and the set was knotted at 19-19. The Lady Cats were unable to take control and the Indians finished the set with a 25-20 win.
Set three was all Haskell as they jumped out to an early 7-1 lead. The Lady Cats were playing catch up once again and the difficulties continued. A charge fueled with kills by Bailey Chamberlain, Sophie Morris, and Bri Linehan would get the Lady Cats close, but the Indians continued to hold them off. A Haskell error was followed by a Sophie Morris kill to cut the gap to 18-16 and the Lady Cats were clawing their way back into the game. Kills by Linehan and Chamberlain helped keep the score close and pulled the Lady Cats to within one, 23-22. Unable to get over the hump, the Lady Cats were stuck on 22 while the Indians scored the next two points to take the set, 25-22, and the match 3-0.
Bri Linehan led the offense with eight kills, while Grace Hancock and Bailey Chamberlain added six each. Christa Duffel tacked on five kills in the loss. Emma Godwin set up 15 assists and Emma McIntire chipped in nine. Mica Chadwell led the defensive effort with 31 digs, Jocee Pettyjohn added 15, and Anna Howe and Emma Godwin each chipped in 11.
The Lady Cats will have a break in action until they head to Avila University to take on the Eagles on October 24. Hopefully the break will provide some time for injury recovery as the Lady Cats look to build momentum toward the post-season.