(Photo by Brent Shipman, Staff)
DEXTER -- Wrapping up their regular season schedule with their Hits For Hope cancer benefit on Monday, the Dexter Lady Bearcats swept the visiting Puxico Lady Indians 25-16, 25-22.
"It was a good one to win," Dexter head coach Carmen Morgan said. "Puxico is a good, tough team. I'd like to play them about every week. We had a lot of good rallies in that (second) game.
"That's the way volleyball is suppose to be played, with lots of rallies."
Decked out in pink jersey's in honor of the cause, the Lady Bearcats had a slow start to the night, but worked out of an early deficit to force a 7-7 tie in the first set.
Their seventh point, on a Shyann Jines kill, marked the start of a dominant run where Dexter scored eight straight to force a Puxico timeout and move ahead 14-7.
Though the Lady Indians strung together a small three-point rally in the middle of the set they weren't able to close back in on Dexter and another kill from Jines set up game point.
Two points later, a net violation by Puxico gave the Lady Bearcats a one-set lead.
Whatever the Lady Indians problem was late in the first set they seemed to correct by the start the second.
After going down by as much as 8-6, Puxico started a four-point rally on a Sierra Woods kill to go ahead 9-8.
From that point on, the two teams battled neck-and-neck until Hannah Noe capped a 4-2 Dexter run to put the Lady Bearcats ahead 23-21 and on the verge of a sweep.
Puxico was able to grab the next point to stay in the game, but another kill from Noe set up match-point and an ace from Paige Patterson closed out another Dexter win.
When looking at her team's performance, Morgan reflected on a point late in the second set as one of her team's better plays in recent weeks.
"We made on play (late) and it was Paige Patterson that dug up the ball and it was a hard hit ball," Morgan said. "She dug it up, had a good pass, then Hannah Noe made a good set and Shyann Jines put it down.
"That was the best defensive dig, set and hit we've had in a long time."
Leading Dexter's attack on the night, Jines finished with nine of the Lady Bearcats' 30 kills on the match while also contributing a team-high 15 digs and two blocks. Noe tied Jines with nine kills on the night and had a team-leading 12 assists and an ace.
Both Alyssa Spear and Patterson had five kills each.
"I felt like it was just a team effort tonight," Morgan said. "Everybody on the team stepped up. That's what we have to do all the time. We want to keep swinging at the ball and we have to keep hitting the ball.
"We have to be the one hitting the ball the most. We're going to work a little bit on blocking, I don't think it's as strong right now as I'd like for it to be."
For Puxico, Emily Merick and Haley Roll had six and five kills respectively with Merick also leading the team with 14 digs. Hannah Foster and Abby Dare had 10 and eight assists each.
"I was really proud of my girls," Lady Indians' head coach April Burchard said. "They gave it everything they had and played them point for point in that last game and I couldn't have asked for anything better.
"I have a very talented team and when they come together they prove it. It's just getting them to play at the right time."
With their home season now at a close, Dexter will hit the road to play the Poplar Bluff Lady Mules Thursday at 6 p.m.
In Monday night's junior varsity contest, Dexter saw a late rally by Puxico result in a three-set loss.
After taking the first set 25-21, the Lady Bearcats were able to jump out 15-7 in the second game.
Before Dexter could close things out, however, the Lady Indians came back for a 25-22 win before leading most of the third set en rout to another Puxico 25-22 win.