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Sikeston takes top seed in SEMO Conference Tourney

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

New Madrid County Central's Hunter Hewitt eyes a pass on Tuesday during the SEMO Conference volleyball tournament at the Sikeston Field House. Chris Pobst, staff
SIKESTON -- Looking to make a run at their fourth-straight SEMO Conference volleyball championship on Tuesday, the Sikeston Lady Bulldogs performed like repeat champs.

During the first round of pool play, Sikeston finished the night with an unblemished record of 3-0 against conference foes such as New Madrid County Central, Oran and Charleston to earn the bracket's top seed.

Sikeston will play Charleston at 4 p.m. on Thursday in the first semifinal. NMCC, who earned the second-seed with a 2-1 record, will play Oran at 5:30 p.m.

"We definitely are looking for that," Sikeston coach Steve Beydler said about taking the SEMO Conference crown for a fourth time. "Everybody here is out to try and get us. It seems like most of the teams here are fairly young and inexperienced. In that regard, we have more experience."

The Lady Bulldogs opened the round with a two-set drubbing of Charleston -- 25-5 and 25-6. They defeated Oran 25-13 and 25-14 as well as NMCC 25-11 and 25-15.

"It feels good," Beydler said. "At this point of the season we're trying to get everyone back to being healthy and it's good to go through unbeaten."

With a hefty load of aggressive net play, Sikeston utilized some of their heavy hitters to attack the middle.

Asia Liggins, Jalen Peet and Quesha Howard all seemed to have their way when it came to finishing kills.

"We had teams tonight that only single blocked. They weren't double blocking," Beydler said. "Sometimes they had a peculiar defensive strategy and a serve-receive strategy that we don't normally see but, we tried to play a game within a game.

"We tried running a few plays that we don't normally do. We spread the hits out and we had a few of the girls swinging well and a little more consistent."

NMCC defeated both Oran and Charleston, but had troubles with the defending champions.

The Lady Eagles beat Oran 25-19 and 25-22. They took care of Charleston 25-21 and 25-15.

"On a positive note, we were undefeated going into the Sikeston game," NMCC coach Brad Kolwyck said. "I think the girls played hard -- the first two for sure. I think we can play harder. We did some things well but we need to execute our offense better. We just let down against Sikeston."

If things go according to Tuesday's seedings, NMCC will have another chance to face Sikeston in the championship game.

"Once we put it together on the court, I think we'll be pretty stout," Kolwyck said. "Right now, we're in the mode where we don't know what's going to show up day to day. We've got to get to where we run in more of our system."

Oran, who is the third seed, finished pool play with a 1-2 record, defeating only Charleston 25-19 and 25-16. The Lady Bluejays ended up winless.

Sikeston will head to Notre Dame High School tonight to take on the Lady Bulldogs. On Thursday, they will try to pick up their fourth-straight conference tournament championship.

"I'm hoping we can carry some momentum into (tonight) and come back Thursday and finish it off," Beydler said.

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