(Photos by David Jenkins, Staff)
SIKESTON - Two very evenly matched teams met on the hardwood Thursday night as the Dexter Lady Bearcats squared off against the Sikeston Lady Bulldogs at the Sikeston Field House. In what proved to be a real cat and dog fight, the Lady Bearcats volleyball team edged out the Lady Bulldogs in three sets 21-25, 25-19, 25-23.
"We matched up really well against a good Dexter team tonight," said Sikeston head coach Steve Beydler, "Last year we played a similar game with Dexter with us coming out on top 25-23 in the third set.
"Although we didn't pick up the win tonight I am extremely proud in the way our girls played. We came out and played together as a team and showed great hustle throughout the whole match."
The first match proved to be a complete see-saw battle as there were nine ties and 10 lead changes. Neither team seemed capable of pulling away from the other as the largest deficit came in the end as Sikeston strung together four consecutive points to seal the match 25-21. Until this juncture neither team was able to get more than a two point advantage over their counterparts, splitting the first 40 points of the game at 20 all.
"Both teams had their spurts and both teams played extremely hard tonight," said Beydler, "We were just able to pull away enough in the end of the first game."
With a much needed break after game one, the Lady Bearcats seemed to refocus and jump out to an early 5-2 lead in game two. The second match seemed to resemble the first as Sikeston battled back to tie the game 8-8 after Caitlyn Underwood found an opening after a Dexter player was unable to cover her area after making a diving play towards the stands.
Bodies continued to fly everywhere as each team struggled to gain a comfortable lead until one team choose to adjust. With the score 9-8 in Dexter's favor Cathryn Heil tried something new since their power game couldn't fully give them the edge. Heil, instead of going for the kill, opted to lightly tip the ball over the Sikeston's block attempt to find the open gap.
"Dexter made a huge adjustment in the second game on us," said Beydler, "They couldn't get around our blocks so instead they began tipping it over us."
With the match even at one game a piece, the third and decisive final match was under way. Sikeston, who had trouble recovering the tip attempts in the middle of the court seemed to have made up that lost ground as they began to fill the gaps.
"After the second game, we made a good adjustment to rotate to the center covering missed block attempts," said Beydler, "After that, game three was going to be decided on who had the most heart to scrap out a victory."
Game three proved to be no different from the first two as both teams edged their way point by point to victory. The first 40 points were once again split between the two teams at 20 a piece. After a Dexter block by Heil, the Bearcats gained a two point advantage with the score 22-20. On the next play Heil, tried to put an exclamation point on the Dexter run with a thunderous kill that hit the edge of the out of bounds line.
Two points away from victory Dexter found themselves with the lift they needed as they with held a late three point rally by Sikeston. With the Sikeston rally falling short the Lady Bearcats found themselves on top, winning the third set 25-23.
"It was a tough loss, but I am so proud of the effort tonight," said Beydler, "Hats off to Dexter, they hustled and really came out and performed tonight."
Sikeston was lead by Rachel Beydler who went 10-11 serving with one ace, 15 digs, 3 kills and 25 assist, and Martika Davis going 12-12 serving with one ace, 15 digs, 14 kills and eight blocks.
Underwood also got in on the action on 11-12 serving with an ace, eight digs, five kills and eight blocks. Millington was 9-12 serving with 11 digs and five kills, while Andrea Coleman went 9-11 serving with one ace, two digs and a kill.
Mandy Moore also tacked on nine digs along with 9-9 serving while Keyarra Blissett had two kills and Casey Palmer had eight digs respectively.
On Dexter's side Heil had 12 kills, 10 digs, 12 assist and a block. Keathley had four kills, two aces, nine digs and two assists while Jessica Satterfield had a big game with 14 kills, 10 digs, two blocks and 13 assist.
Abbie Warren got in on the action with five kills, one ace, three digs and three blocks. Brooke Thrower had two aces and eight digs, Elisha Flanigan had three kills and three digs, and Tiffaney Jones had one kill and seven digs to add.
Dexter, now 12-10-1 look to improve their record as they travel to Puxico Lady Indians Monday night.
Sikeston 8-10-2 will continue their quest to get back to five hundred as they travel to Portagville Tuesday to take on the Lady Bulldogs. Varsity action looks to begin at 7 p.m. following the junior varsity game at 6 p.m.
The Sikeston Lady Bulldog junior varsity team found similar results Thursday night as they fell to the Dexter Lady Bearcats in straight sets 25-22, 25-17.