(Photo by Brent Shipman, Staff)
SIKESTON -- Taking on Jackson to open the Class 4, District 1 tournament Monday night, the Sikeston Lady Bulldogs saw their season come to a close as the Lady Indians swept two sets 25-20 and 25-19 to advance to the semifinals.
"After losing the first (set) it's really down to if we don't (come back), it's really over," Sikeston coach Steve Beydler said. "For the most part, that second set our girls' minds were more worried about not making mistakes than just playing pass-set-hit volleyball and that was the difference.
"We were trying not to make mistakes and of course that makes them I think make mistakes."
Before Jackson went on a 4-2 run to seal the first set, the Lady Indians were locked in an early tug of war with the Lady Bulldogs that saw the two teams swap the lead numerous times up until Sikeston ran off a 4-point rally to tie the game at 15 to force a Jackson timeout.
Starting with the next point, the Lady Indians held control the rest of the set with a Julia Weber block giving her team their 24th point before an unsuccessful Lady Bulldogs block sealed the game.
"The first set I thought we did decently," said Beydler. "There was a time when I think twice that we let them roll off about three or four points in a row. But even then we weren't really out of it."
Things didn't get any easier for Sikeston in the second set as the Lady Bulldogs found themselves playing catch up from nearly the first point on.
Going on a 7-1 opening run capped by back-to-back kills by Laurie Clippard and Kylie Seyer, Jackson was able to build on that lead up until at 18-9 when Sikeston started to mount a comeback.
Though the Lady Bulldogs closed out the game with a 10-7 rally, including kills by Mary Eifert and Quesha Howard, the deficit was too great.
After two straight missed kills by the Lady Indians put the game at 24-19, Natalie Miller sealed the deal with one final kill, connecting from the right side of the net to send her team to the next round.
"The practice before the match really got us pumped and we were so ready tonight," Sikeston's Trenice Greer said. "We really wanted it. We just couldn't finish it.
"That second game we just pretty much shot ourselves in the foot. Just rolled over and let them have it."
In her final game as a Lady Bulldog, senior Halley Loflin led Sikeston in blocks with three while Jalen Peet and Asia Liggins contributed two apiece.
In kills it was Howard's six leading the team as Liggins' three was second on the team for the night.
As for the Lady Indians, Kelsey McDowell has 12 assists and two kills while Clippard had five kills, six digs and two blocks. Leading the team in digs was Hayley Bohnert with 14.
With her team set to face first-seeded Farmington today at 5 p.m., Jackson coach Maile Gannon hopes to see her team play a looser game than what she saw against the Lady Bulldogs.
"We were worried tonight about making mistakes and not just trying to relax and play our game," she said. "We got caught up in a slower paced game so it really kind of hindered us. We felt really sluggish and slow in transition.
"We played a much slower paced game than we typically do."
Sikeston finished their season at 12-17-2.