(Photo by Brent Shipman, Staff)
DEXTER -- Capping the opening night of the Class 3, District 1 tournament on Monday, the third-seeded Dexter Lady Bearcats defended their home court with a sweep of the sixth-seeded New Madrid County Lady Eagles 25-15, 25-6.
"I felt like we came out tonight and were ready to play," Dexter head coach Carmen Morgan said of her team. "This is a whole new season and there is tougher battles ahead, but I was pleased with what they did tonight.
"They kept moving and talking and those are two things that we've been working on."
Not long after NMCC (20-13-1) took its only lead of the night, at 2-0, the Lady Bearcats (22-8) were able to take control of the first set with a Hannah Noe kill starting a 7-1 run.
Closing back to within two points, at 8-6, on a Whitney Williams ace, the Lady Eagles were able to regroup shortly before four-straight points by Dexter forced a timeout.
Though they split the next four points after the break, Dexter was able to take control of the set with another 7-1 run that pushed them ahead 20-10.
A brief 5-2 NMCC rally closed the Lady Eagles back to within eight, but a blocked kill attempt soon after set up game-point.
One final block by NMCC kept their hopes alive, but a serve into the net gave the Lady Bearcats the first set.
Whatever fight the Lady Eagles put up at the end of the first set appeared to be gone when the two teams began the second.
Taking the first two points of the game, the Lady Bearcats never trailed and pulled out a dominate 17-2 run to start the set.
NMCC's only rally came on a 3-1 run when down 21-3, but by then, the damage had been done.
After going up 23-6, an ace from Ashley Brown set up match point.
One final missed kill by NMCC sealed the set and sent Dexter on to the semifinals.
"When you play on Dexter's home floor they have the momentum," NMCC head coach Brad Kolwyck said. "They have a nice facility, good crowd and good support. Not that we don't, but when you come to Dexter and play it's a tough facility to play in as a visiting team.
"The first set I think we played right with them at first, then let them pull away. In the second set I don't think we ever played with them. We just kind of let down."
Leading the Lady Bearcats attack on the night was once again Hannah Noe with 10 kills, three assists and an ace.
Shyann Jines had a team-high 11 assists and four aces on the contest while adding a kill. Paige Patterson added five kills to Dexter's cause and Alyssa Spear had seven assists.
After missing most of the regular season with a leg injury, Jessica Lindsey was a welcomed sight in the Lady Bearcats lineup on Monday as she made her first appearance back.
Besides giving Dexter a moral boost, she finished second on the team in kills with six while also blocking a shot.
"It's big to get her back," Morgan said. "She's just front row. She's not quite ready for back row yet, but we're putting her in on front row.
"But it was a big factor even for our team even just momentum wise to get her back."
With the win, Dexter moves on to play second-seeded Perryville tonight at 6:45 p.m. at the Bearcat Even Center. The winner of the semifinal matchup will play in the championship game the same night at 8 p.m. against the winner of top-seeded Notre Dame and fourth-seeded Kennett.