October 24, 2012 | The Marshfield Mail | 1B
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Mail photos by Clint Mitchell
The Lady Wildcats stand with the third-place trophy after a 5-0 win over Kennett last Thursday in the bronze medal match of the Class 1 state tournament in Springfield.
Lady ‘Cats claim bronze at Class 1 state tournament By Clint Mitchell firstname.lastname@example.org
Most of the Logan-Rogersville tennis team looked on last Thursday afternoon as No. 2 player Hannah Nixon mishit a return in her matchup, knocking the ball into a trash can near the benches. The crowd laughed as Nixon threw her hands into the air signaling, “It’s good.” Just minutes later, Nixon was throwing her hands into the air for a different reason. But this time, the “It’s good,” reference was even more fitting. The sophomore downed her
opponent in a second straight set, clinching the Lady Wildcats’ third-place finish in the Class 1 state tennis tournament at the Cooper Tennis Complex Thursday afternoon in Springfield. Despite blistering winds which reached 50 miles per hour at times, Rogersville swept Kennett, 5-0 in the bronze medal match, giving the Lady ‘Cats their best finish in school history. “They did great,” said head coach Sarah Worsham. “I’m so proud. They played good in their first match, it was just a higher team. But they came
back out and took care of business.” Enjoying the comforts of the indoor courts Thursday morning, the Lady ‘Cats took on twotime defending state champs St. Louis Visitation Academy for the right to play for the Class 1 title. Worsham knew her squad had drawn a tough matchup, and the experience of the Vivettes, who boasted five seniors, was evident. Despite Rogersville’s lone senior Karley Eakins’s fight to send her match into a third set, the Vivettes — who would go on to beat Barstow, 5-1 for a
third straight title — stole the 5-0 win, handing the Lady ‘Cats their first loss of the season. But Eakins, Emma Etheridge, Stacey Williams, Madison Watts and Nixon would sweep their Kennett opponents, making easy work of the third-place matchup, bringing a nice end to a stellar season. And after dropping her first set, Young — who also played in the individual tournament Friday morning — was in the midst of dominating a third and deciding set when the Lady ‘Cats clinched. “It feels really good,” said Eakins after the win. “We went
pretty far my freshman year. We haven’t done very well the past few years, though. But we just kept faith in each other, and we all knew we could do it. We never gave up.” Eakins, who was close to sending her first-round matchup against the Vivettes into a third set, was thrilled with the way her teammates battled back after a tough openinground loss. “We came out the second round and wiped everything away,” she said. “We just started over new and were able to get it done.” See ‘CATS, Page 4B
Marshfield, Rogersville clash for right to play for district crown By Clint Mitchell email@example.com
Webster County rivals, Central Ozark Conference foes, district mates. However you spin it, LoganRogersville’s and Marshfield’s respective volleyball seasons are coming down to a head-to-head matchup tonight in the Class 3, District 10 tournament semifinals at Bolivar. Both teams are coming off dominating wins in the opening round of the tournament Monday night. The Lady ‘Cats began the evening with a straightset sweep over Ava (25-7, 25-11). Rogersville closed its first set on a 21-3 run, and its second set on a 21-6 rampage to clinch a spot in the semifinals. Sophomore Brea Freeman led the team with 14 assists, setting up Sam Stiles’s team-leading 10 kills, along with Abby Groover’s five. Allie Dunton recorded 10 digs in the win, while Austen McGranahan notched six aces. “We try to maintain team unity and stay focused on the little things,” said Rogersville head coach Tammy Miller after the win. “It’s a new season for everyone, and we have discussed that as a team. All our opponents are 0-0, and everyone wants to win. We have to look at each match as though we have never played (this team).” Marshfield also coasted into the semifinals thanks to a 25-13, 25-21 straight-set win over Osage
Mail photo by Clint Mitchell
Teammates Jordan Rogers (25) and Olivia Johnston (23) combine to record the block over Ava’s Alena Stokes (18).
in the nightcap of the tournament’s first round. Junior Whitney Vermillion had a game-high 11 kills in the win, boosted by Abbey Crawford’s 13 assists. Vermillion also recorded four aces in the win. “We didn’t play our best game of the year, but we played well enough to win,” said Lady Jays’ head coach Lisa Messick. “At this point in the season, every win is necessary to move on. I’m glad to get the win, but not entirely happy with our performance.” After complete dominance in the first set, the Lady Jays found themselves scrambling to keep up with Osage in the second set,tying the game at 1111. That’s when Messick called a timeout. “I talked to the girls about our lack of communication and focus,” she said. “I thought they did a good job of responding and talking better after that. We know what we’re supposed to do, we just weren’t executing like we normally do.” Following the timeout, however, the Lady Jays responded. After the break in play, Marshfield never relinquished the lead, hanging on for the 25-21 win, earning a spot in the semis. With both teams decimating the competition in the first round, they’re now on a collision course for a chance to play for the district crown, as well as a spot in the postseason bracket. The Lady ‘Cats and Lady Jays met once this season in a match Rogersville won 25-20, 25-15. It was just the second conference loss of the season for the Lady Jays, who finished third in the COC behind the Wildcats. “Rogersville is a great volleyball team,” Messick said. “They have been a little up and down this season, but they have been playing much better lately. They know how to play in big games. They always come ready to play and they picked on our weaknesses last time.” Messick said the experience gained from the loss to Rogersville should bode well for her Lady Jays in the rematch. “Now that we’ve seen Rogersville and know what they like to do,” Messick said, “I hope to work (in practice) on how we will respond and how we will maximize our strengths.” For Miller and the Lady Wildcats, the strategy isn’t going to change much from that Oct. 9 win over the Lady Jays. “We want to control the tempo of all the matches,” she said. “(The key) will be aggressive play and making sure we limit our mistakes.” With the only two non-COC teams eliminated, the winner of Marshfield (16-15-2) and Rogersville (24-9-1) will move on to face the winner of fellow
COC mates Buffalo (24-6) and Bolivar (12-13). Conference champ and No. 1 seed Buffalo received a bye in the first round, while Bolivar knocked off Springfield Catholic, 2-1, in its tournament opener. Of the teams remaining, only Marshfield has toppled the Lady Bison in conference play — 2-0 on the road Oct. 4. And on the other hand, Buffalo was the only team to take down Rogersville in conference play, as well. “I will worry about that when I have to,” Miller laughed about the potential matchup with No. 1 seed Buffalo. “I think if we beat Rogersville and make it to the finals against Buffalo, we will have the confidence because we have beat them,” Messick said. “But I hope that we are not overconfident.” Either way, following the head-to-head matchup tonight, someone’s district title hopes will be dashed, while the other’s will linger on. “We will have to play very well to beat (Rogersville),” Messick said. “They are a very good team. We will need to play to the best of our ability to come out with a win.” Buffalo and Bolivar kick off the action tonight at 5 p.m. at Bolivar High School. Rogersville and the Lady Jays follow that up with the encore game at 6:30, with the district championship matchup coming at 8 p.m.
Mail photo by Clint Mitchell
Senior Libbie Lawson (2) gets the easy tip for the Lady Jays.