By: Scott Emigh, Editor-in-Chief
The Charles Page High School varsity volleyball team (10-4) blew through the opening rounds of the Coweta Tournament this past weekend, defeating every team in the tournament during round-robin pool play, but fell to the host team in the Championship round.
On day one, the Lady Sandites won a pair of close games over 5A #9 Heritage Hall (6-10) with sets of 25-20 and 25-19. Junior Gloria Mutiri led in scoring with ten kills in the second game alone. In the second match they fended off 4A #8 Catoosa (8-6) who was looking to avenge a week one sweep at Sand Springs. The Lady Sandites won the first game 25-18, but lost the second 23-25 after rallying from a massive deficit of 21-12. The two teams battled closely in the deciding set but Sand Springs prevailed 15-9 thanks to fifteen kills from Mutiri and ten from sophomore Holly Kersgieter.
The girls got their first crack at the home team in match three and dominated the opening set 25-13. 5A #6 Coweta (8-4) turned the tables in game two with a 25-16 victory, but the Lady Sandites turned up the heat in set three to win it 15-10. They capped off the first day with a blowout victory over Edison Preparatory Academy (4-11) with sets of 25-6 and 25-12. Mutiri scored eleven kills in the melee, followed by freshman Devree Youngblood with seven kills, including two aces.
The Saturday opener was another blowout as Sand Springs trumped 5A #15 East Central (6-9) 25-12 and 25-14. Mutiri scored fifteen kills and Kersgieter added eight including four aces.
5A #13 Tahlequah (3-7) brought the heat in the next round and gave the Lady Sandites a run for their money in both sets. The Sandites won 2-0 but both games went into extra points for final scores of 28-26 and 26-24. Mutiri scored an incredible twenty kills in the two games, with major help from MaKenzie Ward who registered seventeen assists.
Sand Springs played back-to-back games against 5A #8 Claremore (7-6) and won both 2-0. In the final round of pool play the Sandites breezed through the Zebras 25-10 and 25-12, but in the bracket semifinals the Zebras upped their game and competed hard for losses of 25-16 and 25-19. Youngblood led the scoring in the first match with seven kills and two aces. Mutiri and Kersgieter each added six kills and Kersgieter serving up three aces. In the second match Mutiri ran away with the scoring for fifteen kills followed by Kersgieter with six and Youngblood with five.
In the tournament finals the Sandites were rematched against Coweta who went 7-2 and avenged an opening-round loss to Heritage Hall in the semifinals. The Tigers rode their success from the last match into a 25-19 victory over the Sandites in the first set. In game two the two teams battled back and forth to a 9-9 tie before the Sandites exploded to a 25-16 finish.
The final set was neck-and-neck with neither team ever getting more than two points ahead till the very end. Kersgieter served up an ace for the first Sandite lead at 3-2 and Ward setup Mutiri for the 5-3 advantage. Coweta blocked a pair of Mutiri's signature spikes, but the standout scored a block of her own and added an ace soon-after to make it 10-8. Coweta reclaimed the lead off a consecutive touch call on the Sandites to make it 11-10, but Kersgieter got a kill off Youngblood to tie things up. Coweta went on a run from there with three straight kills. Madison Burris got in a kill, but Coweta retaliated on the next rally for the 15-12 win.
The Sandites have come a long way since last year when they finished the season 12-24 and went 4-4 at the Coweta Tournament. The girls will return to action Thursday at 4A #4 Victory Christian (7-3). The Sandites have fallen to the Conquerors in straight sets the past two years and look to end that streak.