The College of the Ozarks Lady Cat volleyball team is winding down the regular season and preparing for post-season play. With two matches this week, the Lady Cats were looking to avenge a pair of earlier losses to a couple of formidable opponents. They traveled to Avila University on Tuesday and hosted Oklahoma Wesleyan at THE K on Thursday.
Kansas City, MO – The Lady Cats had lost to the Avila Eagles in five sets in the season opener back on August 25, and they were looking to redeem themselves in a late October tilt. The Lady Cats hopped off the bus ready to play and they set the tone in the opening set. Jumping out to an early lead with kills from Brooklyn Crawford, Bri Linehan, Sophie Morris, and Grace Hancock, the score quickly climbed to 13-6. The Lady Cats continued to apply pressure and Avila struggled to respond. Kills by Crawford, Linehan, and Morris were combined with an Anna Howe service ace, and the Lady Cats pulled away to a 21-12 advantage. Kills by Hancock and Crawford finished off the set and the Lady Cats took the opener, 25-15.
Set two was more of a battle from the opening serve. The two teams traded points to a 7-7 tie before the Lady Cats used kills by Emma Godwin and Brooklyn Crawford to build a 10-7 lead. The Eagles could only keep pace as the Lady Cats answered each challenge. Godwin, Hancock, and Chamberlain teamed up to slam points down on the Eagle side of the net and Brooklyn Crawford drove one home to seal the 25-21 win.
One set away from the sweep, the Lady Cats were getting greedy. Taking an early lead with kills by Crawford, Hancock, and Linehan, the Lady Cats maintained a slim advantage in a back-and-forth affair. With their backs to the wall, Avila continued to battle and finally took their first lead with a 5-0 run. Now trailing 19-18, the Lady Cats took a timeout to regroup. Determined to stay alive in the match, the Eagles continued their assault, and the Lady Cats were unable to overcome the small gap. Avila took set three, 25-22.
The Lady Cats had their sights set on ending the match in four sets, but the Eagles had other plans. The tug of war began on the opening serve and the two teams traded points to a 7-7 tie. An Emma Godwin kill maintained the slim Lady Cat lead and a service Ace by Jocee Pettyjohn provided a little breathing room. The Eagles refused to budge however, and the score was soon knotted at 14-14. Linehan and Crawford stepped up to drive home a trio of points and the Eagles were on the defensive. C of O continued to apply pressure and the Eagles struggled to get over the hump. Kills by Chamberlain, and Godwin moved the Lady Cats to set point and a Brooklyn Crawford kill sealed the 25-22 set victory and the 3-1 match win.
In a balanced attack, Bri Linehan led the charge with 15 kills, Brooklyn Crawford added 13, and Grace Hancock slammed down 10. Emma Godwin dished out 41 assists and Bri Linehan pulled out 27 digs to go with 25 each for Mica Chadwell and Jocee Pettyjohn. Anna Howe and Emma Godwin each recorded 16 digs in the win.
The Lady Cats were then set to host a very good Oklahoma Wesleyan team on Thursday night.
Point Lookout, MO – The Lady Cats ran into a buzz saw Thursday when they hosted the Eagles of Oklahoma Wesleyan University. OKWU jumped out to an early lead in set one and the Lady Cats had a difficult time bouncing back. With several amazing Mica Chadwell digs, and blocks at the net by Brooklyn Crawford and Bailey Chamberlain, the Lady Cats competed with the Eagles, but could not overcome the early deficit. A Crawford kill and an Eagle error cut the gap to 14-13 but the Lady Cats would get no closer. OKWU turned on the pressure and slowly pulled away. Leading 23-20, the Eagles capitalized on a Lady Cat error and a kill secured the opening set win, 25-20.
Set two was all OKWU as the Lady Cats could not find an answer for the size of the Eagles. Point by point, the opponents from Bartlesville pulled away and the Lady Cats found themselves in a hole. It seemed that the Eagles found all the gaps on the Lady Cat side of the net and took set two, 25-14.
The Lady Cats were determined to stave off the sweep but knew they would have their work cut out for them in set three. The battle was on and the teams trade points in the early going. A Bri Linehan kill and several errors by the Eagles kept the score close and a Bailey Chamberlain kill was followed by another Eagle error to tie the score 7-7. The Eagles responded to the challenge and scored the next four points to go up 11-7. The Lady Cats maintained their distance but could not close the gap. As the set continued, OKWU turned up their attack and began to pull away. Kills by Crawford kept the set close, but the momentum of the Eagles was too much. The Eagles took set three, 25-18, and the match 3-0.
Brooklyn Crawford led the offense with eight kills, and Abby Chadwell, in her first game back from injury, set up 16 assists. Mica Chadwell was a dominant force on the back row as she pulled out 18 digs.
The Lady Cats are back in action on Tuesday, October 31, as they host Baptist Bible College at 6 PM.