(Photo by David Jenkins, Staff)
SIKESTON -- The Sikeston Lady Bulldogs have fallen into a trend as of late.
It's a habit that gives some optimism, on one hand. But by the same token, it's one Sikeston coach Steve Beydler would like to see disappear.
"I keep seeing these good moments followed by 'what in the world are you doing,'" he said. "We're going to have to quit digging holes. I like to see that we can dig out of them, but I'd like to have one that's not so deep, so maybe we can finish something off."
After coming up with a surprising and close first set victory over state-ranked Bloomfield, the Lady Bulldogs took steps back in both the second and third sets to lose 25-23, 19-25 and 24-26 on Monday at the Sikeston Field House.
Sikeston was the aggressor and kept putting pressure on the Lady Wildcats in the first set.
Although they pulled away towards the middle of the set, Bloomfield rallied to cut Sikeston's lead to 21-20 late. Sikeston's Asia Liggins and Jalen Peet propelled the Lady Bulldogs to a 24-20 lead before Bloomfield answered with three-straight points of their own.
With the score sitting at 24-23, Peet, who ended the night with six kills and four blocks, blocked Bloomfield's Courtney Delay for the set-winning point.
Sikeston was fresh off of getting a look at the Lady Wildcats, who they just played a few days earlier in the Perryville Invitational tournament just this past weekend. Bloomfield handled the Lady Bulldogs rather easily in Perryville, 25-18 and 25-20 without the services of Liggins, who has been battling an ankle injury as of late.
Beydler pointed to their recent match to their early success on Monday.
"We just played them over the weekend and I strongly believe they took us lightly," Beydler said. "I think they should have won going away and we pulled it out. We took out a couple of their bigger hitters for most of the night.
"I'm not going to say they didn't do anything, but we really kept them contained."
That containment didn't last long.
Bloomfield fired on all cylinders in the second set, scoring the games first three points and eventually taking a 20-9 lead.
Although Sikeston managed a slight comeback, getting as close as four points (23-19), the Lady Wildcats finished off the set to force a final and decisive third set.
"That big of a letdown is ridiculous," said Beydler. "It should have never happened. It was such a huge hole. We ended up outscoring them 10-5 after that but, it shouldn't have happened."
Sikeston, again fell into a hole late in the third set. They led 17-16 at one point but quickly fell 20-17 and then, eventually 24-20.
Twice, the Lady Wildcats failed to keep the ball inbounds, Liggins, who led Sikeston with 11 kills, scored a point for Sikeston and a net violation tied the set at 24-24.
An error on the part of Sikeston made it 25-24 Bloomfield. Delay capped the set with a thunderous kill down the middle to give her Lady Wildcats the win.
"We had some errors in key points that I really wouldn't like to see," Beydler said. "I'd just like them to keep pushing forward. (Bloomfield's) a good team. It's a good team to go to the wire with.
"We're working on it -- we're working on mental toughness."