Lady Sandite Volleyball upsets No. 14 Bixby Spartans 3-2

By: Scott Emigh, Editor-in-Chief

The Charles Page High School varsity volleyball team is continuing to impress in what could quite possibly be one of the best years in Sandite Volleyball history. It's been a long time since the girls have had a winning season, and they currently hold a 20-11 record and are ranked sixteenth by the OSSAA Coaches' Poll, despite the fact that just last week they upset the No. 10 Union Redskins (8-10). This past weekend the Lady Sandites went 6-2 at the Catoosa Port City Classic, and Tuesday they scored yet another upset over the No. 14 Bixby Lady Spartans (10-10).

At the Port City Classic this weekend, the Sandites defeated 5A No. 11 Claremore (12-16) 2-0 (25-23, 25-16), 4A No. 8 Catoosa (14-15) 2-0 (25-12, 25-16), 5A No. 5 Collinsville (17-6) 2-1 (25-22, 14-25, 15-12), 5A No. 7 Coweta 2-1 (23-25, 25-12, 15-4), 4A No. 1 Metro Christian (27-6) 2-0 (25-23, 25-19) and 5A No. 6 Shawnee 2-1 (21-25, 25-22, 15-11). They lost 2-0 to 4A No. 3 Victory Christian (18-5) in pool play with close sets of 25-23 and 25-21, and were eliminated in bracket play with a rematch against Metro Christian who won 2-0 with sets of 25-19 and 25-16.

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The Sandites were neck and neck with the Spartans for most of the match Tuesday, sometimes giving up the lead, but always competing. The Sandites sided out on a service error to start the game 1-0 and Lee Leslie set up Gloria Mutiri for a kill. Rachel Fisher returned the favor for the Spartans, but Mutiri tacked on another, followed by two Spartan errors, then Mutiri and Makenna Cypert combined on a block for the 6-1 advantage.

Bixby had the edge from there and battled back to tie it up at 10-10 with a kill from Fisher. Fisher and Mutiri both wore 21 on their uniform and the two were in a shootout for most of the match.

After Fisher briefly gave her team the 11-10 lead, the Sandites went on a run with a pair of kills from Leslie, a shot from Mutiri, and an ace from Devree Youngblood to make it 15-11. The Spartans tried to keep up from there, but the Sandites pulled ahead for a 25-18 win. Leslie scored a pair back-to-back aces late in the match and Mutiri added one as well.

The second set was marred by errors for the Sandites who handed Bixby nearly as many points as they earned. The first four Spartan points of the set were from Sandite errors, but the home team quickly took an 8-4 lead with kills from Mutiri and Holly Kersgieter after cleaning up the errors. 

The Spartans started to play then and scored a series of kills of their own and capped it off with an ace from Kendra Horowitz to tie it at 8-8. The teams exchanged a pair of service errors and continued to battle closely till Mutiri and Kersgeiter gave their team a 12-10 edge, followed by a pair of Spartan faults. 

Bixby tied it up again at 15-15 as Kayla Little and Sophie Childs combined to block one of Mutiri's hard-hitting spikes. The Sandites briefly trailed after Gaby Justus took the lead for the Spartans, but Kersgieter scored an ace to tie it at 21-21. The Sandites gave up three-straight errors from there, however, and Little notched the game-winner at 25-22 to tie the match.

The third set also went to the Spartans who benefited from thirteen Sandite errors. Tori Holt entered the game for the Spartans and notched five kills in the set. Sand Springs trailed by as much as 17-11 midway through the game before battling back to tie it up at 23-23 with an ace from Kendall Wise. Bixby came out of a timeout to score on a hit from Little and a Sandite error clinched the game for the Spartans to take the 2-1 lead.

The Sandites cleaned up their act a bit in the fourth set and the Spartans had to put in extra effort for a match-best eighteen kills. The game got off to a good start with an ace from Baylee Mudd followed by three-straight Spartan errors. The Spartans tied things up at 8-8, but Sand Springs went back on the run and held the lead till Holt hit an ace at 14-14. 

Youngblood took the lead back from the Spartans at 17-17 and Kersgieter scored back-to-back kills for the lead. The game tied up four more times from there and went into extra points. Tied at 24-24, Mutiri took the lead, Little tied it up then took the lead for the Spartans. A Spartan collision tied things up and a consecutive contact call gave the Sandites the lead. The set ended as Justus sent a spike out of bounds and the Sandites secured the win at 28-26. 

The final set was a "never count yourself out" type of game as the Spartans took the early lead and held it to the very end. Bixby lead by as much as 8-4 after Little scored three-straight, but the Sandites got within a point at 10-9 after back-to-back kills from Mutiri. Mudd built a campfire on a tipped ball to make it 12-11 and a Spartan error tied the match. The Spartans committed another pair of errors and Madison Burris set up Mutiri for the game-winner, 15-12. 

Mutiri lead in scoring for the Sandites with 30 kills, followed by Kersgieter with 15, Leslie with 8, and Youngblood with 7. Fisher and Little split the scoring for Bixby with 18 kills each, followed by Holt with 9, Justus with 7, and Childs with 6. Burris was the leading setter for the Sandites with 20 assists, followed by MaKenzie Ward with 19. 

The Lady Sandites have only six matches left this season before the Regional playoffs. They'll return to action Thursday at Booker T. Washington (8-16). Freshmen start at 4:00 p.m., followed by JV at 5:00 and Varsity at 6:00.