(Photo by Brent Shipman, Staff)
SIKESTON -- The Sikeston Lady Bulldogs pulled out a tough three-set match against the visiting Cape Central Lady Tigers on Wednesday night, finding out more about themselves than anything else.
"That's the kind of 'don't give up, have some mental toughness' that we're really trying to push," Sikeston coach Steve Beydler said. "You can't just talk about it, you have to go and do it. That's where it matters."
Sikeston (6-5) fought back from a 20-15 and then eventually a 24-21 deficit in the first set. A point scored by Sikeston's Darqueshionna Howard, a block by Asia Liggins and two Cape Central errors gave the Lady Bulldogs a thrilling, 26-24 comeback win and a one-set lead.
The second set, however, went the opposite direction for Sikeston.
After fighting with the Lady Tigers early on, Sikeston fell back by eight points throughout the middle of the set, 16-8. Cape Central eventually put the set away, 25-16.
"That's the kind of letdown I've seen in the past," said Beydler. "I think after winning the first set, any team gets a little comfortable because they know, at the very least, they can go another set. We kicked back a little too much and we couldn't dig out of that hole."
During the third and final set, Sikeston came out on a mission to end it quickly. They rushed out to a 11-6 lead and eventually an 18-12 advantage behind the play of Jalen Peet.
Peet, who ended up with 12 kills, continued to find open spots on the court for either hard spikes or tips that gingerly fell for the Lady Bulldogs.
"She found a hole and she kept exploiting it," Beydler said about Peet. "It was a good mixture of tips and hits. She maybe had as many tips as she did hits."
Although Sikeston went up by a comfortable 18-12 lead, Cape Central mounted a comeback.
Down by six, the Lady Tigers scored seven straight points to take a 19-18 advantage. With the help of Peet, Sikeston regained their lead after two tips that stretched just above the reach of Cape Central's front line.
Sikeston rode that momentum to a 24-20 lead, needing just one more point to put the game and Cape Central away.
However, the Lady Tigers tied the set at 24-24 while Sikeston had trouble containing errors.
"At that point, you have a decision," said Beydler. "You could either roll over and let them take it or you can say 'no' we shouldn't be in this position. They dug in."
Howard put Sikeston up 25-24. A small bit of confusion between the game point actually called for a replay. An inadvertent buzzer during the final moments of the point went off causing the referees to decide to replay the point.
A serve receive error by Cape Central ended it, giving Sikeston the 26-24 win as well as as 2-1 match victory.
"That's a nice move in the right direction for sure," Beydler said. "They showed a little tenacity."
Katie Williams led Cape Central (2-11) with seven kills. Tori Scheller added 20 assists.
Trenice Greer led Sikeston with 25 assists and also had six kills. Howard finished with six kills as well.
Cape Central won the junior varsity contest that also went three sets, 24-26, 25-22 and 25-9.