CAPE GIRARDEAU -- A recently-implemented lineup shuffle paid immediate dividends for the Sikeston Lady Bulldog volleyball team.
Sikeston opened its SEMO Conference season with a three-set win (25-14, 15-25, 25-18) over the host Cape Central Lady Tigers on Monday.
"I made some lineup changes tonight to try to capitalize on a few strengths and remove a few weaknesses," said Sikeston coach Steve Beydler. "Overall, except for a little streakiness that will go away when they settle in and get more comfortable with it, I was very pleased with our play."
In the opening game, the Lady Bulldogs (4-2-1, 1-0 in conference) rode a near error-free service game to a 25-14 win.
A seven-point surge on Quinn Kaiser's service broke open a close contest at 12-10 and staked the Lady Bulldogs to an insurmountable 19-10 advantage. For the game, Kaiser recorded nine service winners with two aces while outside hitter Martika Davis performed yeoman duty at the net with seven kills. Caitlin Underwood added five service points.
Sikeston never found a rhythm in game two, trailing throughout in a 25-15 loss. Cape Central's 6-foot-2 middle blocker Wendi Zickfield controlled the net with an assortment of blocks and kill shots.
In the decisive third game, the Bulldogs rushed to a 4-0 early lead and led 9
-4 before the Tigers rallied for five straight points to even the score at 9.
Beydler then called a timeout to settle his charges.
"I told them (during the timeout) it's all about playing as a team," he said. "You've got to play as a team, set as a team, pass as a team and kill as a team."
The Bulldogs responded with a 9-0 run on Ali Harper's service to take a commanding 19-10 lead.
Cape Central battled back with six straight points to close the gap to 19-16, then with the score at 20-17, the Bulldogs ran off three straight points for a 23-17 edge. The squads traded points prior to Rachel Beydler's service ace to clinch the victory at 25-18.
Davis added four spikes to finish with a team-high 14 kills while Kaiser chipped in with three of her seven kill total.
On the evening, Kaiser also led in service points with 17-of-18 accuracy.
Emily Taylor and Harper deposited 11-of-12 serves, Rachel Beydler 9-of-9 and both Kiarra Morris and Underwood 8-of-9 with two aces each. Harper also had two aces.
Taylor and Beydler led the digs category with 13 apiece and setter Beydler topped the assist statistic with 22.
Sikeston will host Puxico today at 6 p.m.
BENTON - The Kelly Lady Hawks shutout the visiting Delta Lady Bobcats on Monday afternoon 9-0.
Kalie Hughes picked up the win for the Lady Hawks and Brittany Ponder was the offensive star for Kelly going 4-for-4 with a triple.
Hughes also had a nice game at the plate with a 2-2 day and an RBI. Katee Moore rounded out the offense for Kelly with two RBIs.
Kelly (13-2) had a nice weekend at the Incarnate Word tourney.
The Lady Hawks made it to the semifinals eventually losing to Cape Notre Dame.
The Lady Hawks return to action on Wednesday when they travel to take on Cape Central at 4 p.m.
WP - Kalie Hughes
LP - Burnett
3B - Brittany Ponder (K)
Multiple hitters - Kelly: Ponder 4-4, Hughes 2-2.
Records - Kelly (13-2)
PORTAGEVILLE -- Portageville defeated Malden in straight sets. Further results were not reported on the contest.