(Photo by David Jenkins, Staff)
SIKESTON -- On a night where emotions were running high, the Sikeston Lady Bulldogs volleyball team took two straight games from the New Madrid County Central Lady Eagles on Senior Night, by scores of 25-18 and 25-21.
"I'm always concerned about the stress on Senior Night," Sikeston head coach Steve Beydler said. "Emotions are up, but this win tonight helped us win the conference championship outright. We won both the conference championship and the conference tournament this season, all in one week."
The Lady Bulldogs were led all night long by their seniors, who stepped up to the challenge of the NMCC squad that started out with the lead in both games.
Seniors Rachel Beydler, Martika Davis, Jennifer Millington and Caitlyn Underwood all had good games on the evening for the Lady Bulldogs. Senior Alli Harper, who was injured earlier in the season was there on the sideline backing up her fellow classmates.
Both games battled back-and-forth, giving plenty of action to all of the spectators in attendance. With girls diving this way and that on the court, there was nearly a highlight in every play.
Sikeston seemed to have game one after a sudden momentum swing, then NMCC's Whitney Tanner stepped up to spike the ball back over the net, giving NMCC the slight edge, 11-10.
The score volleyed as much as the ball did, and eventually three great plays by Davis for the Lady Bulldogs got the offense steamrolling, and they would go on to take game one 25-18.
Game two had the Lady Eagles shooting out of the gates with a 6-1 lead, looking as if they were going to push to a game three easily, but after another spectacular play from Sikeston's Davis, the Lady Bulldogs went on a run themselves, rattling off five points in a row, and then took complete control of the game.
The second game's play-of-the-game quite possibly could have been a dig from Davis that sent the game into a volleying frenzy. After several exchanges, Sikeston's Keyarra Blissett stepped up and dumped the ball over the net away from the Lady Eagle defenders.
Sikeston's biggest lead would be eight points, but the important stat, is that they didn't lose control of the lead again, and went on to win game two 25-21, and the match, two games to none.
"I completely changed the lineup this week," (Steve) Beydler said. "We worked on one lineup Wednesday, but I completely changed it from then. It made the girls a little clueless."
"Considering that--It worked for (Keyarra) Blissett," he added. "It moved (Caitlyn) Underwood to the outside, so it worked out for them. It's going to work offensively, it just shifted our digs around."
Davis had 12 kills, four blocks and 14 digs, Millington had two kills and 11 digs, Underwood had six kills, one block and was 9-for-9 serving with an ace, Mandy Moore had one kill and was 8-for-8 serving, Andrea Coleman had five digs and was 5-for-5 serving, and Blissett had 11 kills.
(Rachel) Beydler had three digs and 26 assists, and is now 11 assists away from tying her own school record of 486 that she set last season in her junior stint.
She will have at least one more match to tie or break her own record, as the Lady Bulldogs open up district tournament play on Monday night against Cape Central, at Cape Girardeau. The match is set for 7 p.m.