(Photo by Brent Shipman, Staff)
BELL CITY -- Coming off a busy weekend at the Perryville Volleyball Tournament, the Sikeston Lady Bulldogs were able to get back over the .500 mark for the season on Monday with a win against Bell City.
Playing in a best of five format, the Lady Bulldogs were led by a 14-kill effort from senior Trenice Greer as they swept the Lady Cubs 25-12, 25-13 and 25-21.
"Knowing we were going 3 out of 5 I dressed out some jayvee kids since we didn't have a jayvee match tonight," Sikeston head coach Steve Beydler said. "I got a chance to get some young ones in and they got an opportunity to get their feet wet with the varsity group.
"We're trying to figure out what we're going to do as we approach the end of the regular season this week and get ready to go for districts. So I want some choices on my bench so we wanted to see what some girls could do when given that opportunity to be thrown into a varsity game."
After a close battle with Bell City (4-18-2) to the midway point of each of the first sets, the Lady Bulldogs (15-14-1) were able to finish strong in each, winning by a combined 25 points.
It was in the third and final set that the Lady Cubs gave Sikeston their toughest battle of the night.
Following a strong 7-4 push to start the set, the Lady Bulldogs found themselves once again knotted up at 10-10 thanks to a short Bell City rally.
Sikeston went on to take the next four points and was able to hold a three-point edge through most of the final half of the set, forcing a Lady Cubs' timeout at 20-17.
Battling point-for-point, the Lady Bulldogs maintained a three-point advantage at 23-20 before Greer sent over her final kill of the night to set up match-point.
Bell City was able to keep its hopes alive, but another Sikeston kill, this time by Kalli Williams, sealed the three-set sweep.
"We didn't terminate hard, but we terminated smart," Beydler said of his team's effort. "That's what I'm trying to get across. We don't always have to swing full, as long as it's smart it doesn't matter.
"A kill is kill regardless of whether it lays soft or whether it lays hard. That's one of things we're working on right now."
On a night where the Lady Bulldogs totaled 23 team kills, Greer came away with 14 while adding a pair of aces and four assists to her team's cause. Lauren Beydler had five aces and a kill to go along with a team-high 13 assists with Ricci Tidwell contributing four aces.
Kalli Williams had two kills and three assists and Esther Chinwuko had five kills.
For the Lady Cubs, Sierra Bradshaw had four blocks and a kill with Cassidy Green adding two aces, a kill and a block.
Talana Woodson had two blocks and Jessica Maddox finished with two aces and a kill.
"We've struggled a lot this season with injuries," Bell City head coach Amber Conn said. "I've lost a few girls so we've really grown a lot as a team and I think we've gotten a lot better and are able to hang in with the better teams.
"We're getting scrappy and I think we've come a long way."
Over the weekend, the Lady Bulldogs found themselves competing in Pool A of the Perryville Volleyball Tournament before landing themselves in the Silver Bracket. They made it to the semifinals before falling to eventual bracket winners Saxony Lutheran in a tight match.
Sikeston will play their final home game of the regular season tonight against Advance as they celebrate senior night, starting at 6 p.m.