"They were a little more focused," Dexter coach Lauren Hutchcraft said of her team. "I said 'I better see a completely different team tonight than I saw (Monday night) in the second set against Fredericktown'. It was a little better, but not anywhere where it needed to be.
"You look at other teams and their girls play as one, and they're together. That's something that I feel like my kids lacked."
Trailing 9-5 early in the first set, the Lady Bearcats rallied for four-straight points to tie things up on an ace from Jessica Lindsey. With Notre Dame going on a 5-3 run, however, Dexter was forced to use their first timeout trailing 14-12 after a kill from Kate Edwards.
Coming out of the timeout, Notre Dame started another rally on an Edwards kill as the Lady Bulldogs took eight of the next nine points to force Dexter into burning their final timeout at 23-13.
After surrendering the next point on a missed serve, Notre Dame went on to claim the next two points to take the set.
With their season on the line, the Lady Bearcats responded to the first set loss by jumping out to an early 5-3 lead in the second set before the Lady Bulldogs came back to tie at 6-6. Still locked up at the 10-point mark, Notre Dame slowly started to gain ground before jumping out to a 20-14 lead.
Though the Lady Bearcats called a timeout to make one final push, the Lady Bulldogs scored four-straight points, two on missed Dexter kills, before claiming the match with a 25-16 win.
"We've had that more than a couple of times this season," Hutchcraft said of her team's late set collapses. "We're playing (close) and then I have no idea what it is, if it's we make a mistake and we mentally lose it and can't pull it together (or what).
"We just can't finish a game or close it. That's what we need to learn how to do so hopefully we can work on some of these things in the offseason and be better next year."
On the match, Erika Cobb had five digs, four kills and three aces while Brittany Harris contributed three kills, two digs and two blocks.
Lindsey finished the night with three kills, five digs, two aces and a block and Hannah Noe had three kills, eight digs and ace and a block.
"I feel like the girls had a really good season," Hutchcraft said. "We had some good wins and some bad losses. This one especially against Notre Dame is heartbreaking because it's districts and we lost to them three times now this season, which is very disappointing.
"But I have to commend the girls because we started working in June, played all summer long and continued on through the season."
Though the Lady Bulldogs advanced to the championship game with the win, Notre Dame's season came to a close later that night. Facing the Perryville Lady Pirates for the title, Notre Dame fell in straight sets, 25-13 and 25-22.