(Photo by Brent Shipman, Staff)
DEXTER -- It didn't take the Dexter Lady Bearcats long to notch their first win under new head coach Carmen Morgan.
Starting a busy first week of the season against the Richland Lady Rebels Monday, Dexter was able to jump ahead early in both sets to sweep the match 25-3, 25-7.
"We hopefully got rid of some jitters tonight," Morgan said. "In the first game, the girls are always tight and have some butterflies.
"We got rid of some of those tonight hopefully because we have all week and it's just going to keep getting tougher as we go along."
Richland controlled the ball to start first set, but after opening with a serve in the net Dexter was able to take over.
Behind the serving of Shyann Jines, the Lady Bearcats were able to take the first 12 points, including four aces by Jines during the stretch.
Taking advantage of a third volley that didn't cross the net, the Lady Rebels were finally able to get on the board at 12-1 and grabbed two of three points before Dexter took the reigns to finish off the set.
Starting with a tip over from Brittany Harris to make it 14-2, Dexter went on a 12-1 run to end the first game. Following a Lady Rebel timeout at 20-3, Dexter got a pair of aces from Jessica Lindsey and a kill from Paige Patterson to move within two points of closing out the set.
A missed kill by Richland, followed by a serve in the net gave Dexter the game.
"We had a little trouble communicating tonight out there for sure," Lady Rebels' head coach Lisa Taylor said. "Nobody really wanted to step up and be that leader. That's something else we talked about we needed to work on."
Getting a kill from Hannah Noe to start the second set, the Lady Bearcats wasted little time in once again building a dominant lead.
An 11-1 run forced Richland to burn their first timeout and Dexter went on take five of the next six points to push ahead 16-1.
Richland split the next six points with Dexter, but a kill by Noe was able to start a final push by the Lady Bearcats.
After the Lady Rebels notched their final points on a missed Dexter serve to make it 22-7, the Lady Bearcats took advantage of two Richland miscues to move ahead to game point.
Jines sent the final serve over the net where Richland volleyed it out of bounds to seal the set and the match.
Though happy with the win, Morgan hopes to see her team continue to improve as the week rolls on.
"We've been working on talking with hitters and everybody moving," Morgan said. "They moved all right, but we didn't get the talking down. I don't think we got back to our base defense position as well as I would like to see us do.
"Volleyball is a quick game and you don't have time to play halfway. So we've got a few things we're going to want to work on and get ourselves back to base defense a little bit quicker."
Leading the Lady Bearcats effort, Lindsey had eight kills on the night while Harris notched three kills, a block and was 11 of 11 serving.
Noe had three kills to go along with 17 assists and also recorded a block. At the line for her fair share of Dexter points, Jones finished the match 20 of 21 on her serves.
With their first game of the year out of the way, the Lady Bearcats will travel to Kennett to play the Lady Indians tonight at 6 p.m. Following that, they'll take part in the Notre Dame Volleyball Fest starting on Friday in Cape Girardeau.
The Lady Rebels, who were also playing their first game of the season, will host the Twin River Lady Royals tonight at 6 p.m.
"We still have some work to do, but we're getting there," Taylor said of her team. "As long as they'll stick together and work hard I'm hopeful we'll get better.
"It's always hard for Richland to come take Dexter for our first game. You have a big (Class 3) school and it's tough."