(Photo by Brent Shipman, Staff)
NEW MADRID -- Sealing the SEMO Conference title Thursday night, the Sikeston Lady Bulldogs swept the New Madrid County Central Lady Eagles in straight sets 25-18, 25-18 to wrap up the regular season.
"Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy," Sikeston coach Steve Beydler said of the win. "That's what tonight was. We did enough to win, but they were not intense or pushing."
Building an eight-point lead mid-way through the first set, the Lady Bulldogs were able hold NMCC at a distance most of the game with a Mary Eifert kill putting Sikeston up 22-14.
That's when the Lady Eagles kicked off a 4-1 run with Karen McGlosson providing a pair of kills to bookend the drive to cut the Lady Bulldogs lead to five.
NMCC's comeback ended there, however, as Sikeston scored back-to-back points to secure the set.
Though the second set produced the same outcome, the early going proved to be much closer as poor serving by both squads kept the game locked to a 9-9 tie.
"The second set was just back-and-forth sloppy," Beydler said. "It was 9-9 and we were on our eighth server of the game.
"We had gone around plus an extra two and it was only 9-9 because it was just bad serve after bad serve. I think out of the first six serves in the game, four or five were bad."
From that point on, save an occasional bad serve, the Lady Bulldogs slowly started pulling away, building a five-point lead at 18-13 which forced NMCC to call a timeout to try and regroup.
Able to hold Sikeston within four from that point up until 22-18, the Lady Eagles were unable to close the gap as the Lady Bulldogs went on a three-point run to end the game with an ace by Sam Anderson putting Sikeston one-point from the win.
Closing it out, Trenice Greer hit a volley to the back right corner of NMCC's court which went undefended, giving her team the win.
"The second game we just couldn't get momentum going," Lady Eagles' coach Jenny Sexton said. "We were passing better and moving better, but we were missing too many serves and when you miss too many serves you can't get anything going.
"They are very good at battling back, but I wish we would get that mentality early and not have to battle back."
Leading Sikeston's front court attack was Trenice Greer with nine kills while Asia Liggins and Quesha Howard added five and four respectively.
With the regular season over, the Lady Bulldogs head into districts with a 12-16-2 record while NMCC will come in at 11-13-2.
Both teams will open up district play Monday as Sikeston is set host Jackson at 6 p.m. in Class 4, District 1 action. Starting at 5 p.m., the Lady Eagles, meanwhile, will travel to Dexter where they will play Kennett in the Class 3, District 1 Tournament.
"It's going to be fun and it's going to be tough," Beydler said of his team's match up. "We went three (sets) with them earlier in the middle of the season.
"I think our lineups stronger if we can execute the way we sometimes do. They're probably better than they were then as well so it's going to be a dog fight and we're going to have see what happens."
Earlier in the night, it was Sikeston's junior varsity also coming out with a win, beating NMCC's junior varsity 25-17, 25-19 in straight sets.