Lady Bears see mixed results in area tournament action

By Will Johnson, Sports Editor
Posted 3/17/21

Entering last Tuesday’s Highway 89 middle school volleyball showdown with Linn’s Lady Wildcats, Bland’s seventh and eighth-grade Lady Bears looked to stay undefeated to start their …

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Lady Bears see mixed results in area tournament action


Entering last Tuesday’s Highway 89 middle school volleyball showdown with Linn’s Lady Wildcats, Bland’s seventh and eighth-grade Lady Bears looked to stay undefeated to start their respective seasons.

Using a solid serving attack, Bland’s seventh-grade Lady Bears improved to 3-0 on the season sweeping Linn in two sets 25-9 and 25-7.

Cruising to victory in game one, the Lady Bears kept the momentum going in game two of the seventh-grade match.

Aces from Adalyn Walters and Kaydence Jones helped Bland to an early 5-1 lead over the Lady Wildcats in game two.

Leading 7-4, Bland turned to Lydia Jones for serving duty.

Recording three aces out of the next five points, Jone helped the Lady Bears to a 12-4 lead midway through game two.

Three aces from Piper Marsee, four aces from Cylee Reed and three more aces from Walters helped Bland take game two and the match over Linn 25-9 and 25-7.

Also looking for a 3-0 start, Bland’s eighth-grade Lady Bears took to the court against Linn’s Lady Wildcats.

Splitting the first two sets, Bland and Linn needed a third set to decide the match.

Three aces apiece from Trista Kottwitz and McKenna Loughridge helped Bland take the third set and the match 26-24, 16-25 and 15-9.

Early in game one, it appeared Bland was going to make it a short one.

That is because Tajel McDaniel served 10 points in a row giving the Lady Bears an early 11-0 lead.

That was before Linn got aces from Harlee Klebba and Alexis Cicero to cut Bland’s lead to 15-12 midway through the first set.

Nursing a 19-17 lead, Bland saw that lead vanish when Linn’s Kiana Hostetler served the next four points giving the Lady Wildcats a 21-19 lead.

Following a Linn service error, McDaniel served the next four points giving Bland a 24-21 lead late in the first set.

Linn came back to tie the game at 24-24 before a Victoria Busch kill sent Illeana Sullinger behind the service line with game point on the line.

Able to land the serve in bounds, Sullinger helped the Lady Bears edge Linn in game one.

Game two started off with three points from McDaniel giving Bland an early 3-0 lead.

Trading points for a stretch, the Lady Bears had a 10-7 lead before Linn caught fire.

Serving the next nine points, Hostetler helped the Lady Wildcats to a 17-10 lead over Bland looking to force a third set.

With the Lady Bears unable to get any closer, Linn took the second set 25-16 forcing a third-and-deciding set from Bland Middle School.

Trailing 5-1 early in game three, Bland was able to overcome four consecutive errors with solid serving to take game three and the match 26-24, 16-25 and 15-9.

Two nights later Thursday in Bourbon, both Lady Bear volleyball squads looked to add to their Highway 89 victories.

Starting with the seventh-grade match, Bland pulled out a pair of close games to win the match in two sets 25-23 and 25-21.

Eighth-grade action also went the way of Bland down in Bourbon with a victory in two sets 25-16 and 25-8.

Entering tournament action over the weekend, both teams went in undefeated at 4-0.

Bland Lady Bear head volleyball coach Kaci Jones went with the eighth-grade squad to Owensville while assistant coach Tiffany Vandegriffe took the seventh-grade Lady Bears to Bourbon.

Down in Bourbon, Bland opened seventh-grade tournament action in a round-robin format along with Steelville, Cuba, St. James and the host Lady Warhawks.

Opening the tournament against Cuba, the Lady Bears took both sets over the Lady Wildcats 25-14 and 25-13.

Right after that match, Bland faced off against Steelville.

Edging the Lady Cardinals 25-24 in game one, the Lady Bears completed the sweep with a 25-17 win in game two.

Closing the morning portion o the tournament, Bland took on the host Lady Warhawks for the second time in three days.

Sweeping that match 25-13 and 25-8, the only team standing between the Lady Bears and a spot in the championship match was St. James’ Lady Tigers.

Surviving a pair of close sets, Bland defeated the Lady Tigers 25-22 and 25-20 to advance to the championship match against Steelville.

Duplicating their previous match, the Lady Bears needed just two sets to claim the tournament title in Bourbon by scores of 25-15 and 25-20 over Steelville.

Over in Owensville, the eighth-grade Lady Bears looked to finish either first or second in their pool to advance to bracket play.

Swept in their opening pool match by Owensville 25-13 and 25-14, the Lady Bears looked to bounce back in their next pool match against Washington.

In a bit of an upset, Bland swept the Lady Blue Jays taking both sets 25-19 and 25-21 evening their record in pool play at 2-2.

In good position to advance to the bracket portion of the tournament, Bland faced St. James in their next pool match.

Dropping game one 25-18, the Lady Bears came back to take game two 25-20.

Splitting their final pool play match with Sullivan, Bland finished third in their pool just missing the bracket portion of the tournament.

Bland’s Lady Bears will return to action tomorrow (Thursday) night when they hit the road to Hermann to face the Lady Bearcats starting at 5 p.m., with the seventh-grade match.

Friday night, the Lady Bears will host Owensville at Bland Middle School beginning at 5 p.m., with Highway 28 middle school volleyball bragging rights on the line.


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