By: Scott Emigh, Editor-in-Chief
The Lady Sandites are 8-0 are headed to the Championship round of the Coweta Volleyball Tournament after winning eight straight games.
The Charles Page High School varsity squad (9-3) has won sixteen of eighteen games and only needs two more to claim their first tournament championship since before the Coach Green era.
Heritage Hall fell 2-0 with sets of 25-20 and 25-19. Catoosa fell 2-1 with sets of 25-18, 23-25, and 15-9. Coweta fell 2-1 with sets of 25-13, 16-25, and 25-10. Edison fell 2-0 with sets of 25-12 and 25-14. Tahlequah fell 2-0 with sets of 28-26 and 26-24. Claremore fell 2-0 in pool play with sets of 25-10 and 25-12, then fell in the semi-finals with sets of 25-16 and 25-19.
Tahlequah was the closest competition the Sandites had faced yet and both sets went into extra points.
Freshman Devree Youngblood drew first blood with a block for the Sandites, but the Tigers scored three straight kills for the lead. Gloria Mutiri hit back to back kills off MaKenzie Ward but gave the points back on errors. The neck and neck continued before the Tigers began to pull away for a 24-17 advantage.
Sand Springs wasn’t deterred and went on a seven-straight streak thanks to kills from Mutiri and Kersgieter. Tahlequah scored a kill on a corner shot but Lee Leslie retaliated to tie things up at 25. Mutiri scored a pair of shots off Ward and clinched the win with a block.
The second game was equally close despite early leads from Sand Springs. The Sandites went on a run to start with Leslie scoring on the opening rally, Mutiri hitting a shot off Madison Burris’s setup, and Kersgieter hitting an ace. Ward got in a kill of her own and Kersgieter nailed yet another ace for the 5-0 advantage.
Tahlequah earned an error but Sand Springs stole the next four rallies and led 9-1 after a block from Mutiri. Mutiri scored three straight kills on setups from MaKenzie Ward, Leslie added an ace, and Mutiri scored a block off Tahlequah player’s face to make it 15-4.
The Tigers went on a run from there and got close to tying things up with an ace at 21-20 and succeeded in a tie at 24-24 with an ace. Mutiri scored the twenty-fifth point and an error from Tahlequah netted the win.
In the last round of pool play the Sandites took a quick 5-0 lead over Claremore. Kersgieter aced the opening serve and Youngblood followed it up with a kill. A Lady Zebra error handed Kersgieter the ball for another ace and once again Youngblood found MaKenzie Ward’s setup for the score.
Kersgieter’s next serve fell short, but so did the corresponding Claremore service and this time it was Youngblood’s turn to ace. Baylee Mudd got in on the ace action, Kylie Taylor and Makenna Cypert both scored kills and the Zebras piled on the errors till the Sandites prevailed 25-10.
In game two Claremore won the opening rally, but Sand Springs won the next six behind hard hits from Mutiri, Kersgieter, and aces from Taylor, Mudd, and Kersgeiter. A long mess of errors catapulted the Sandites to a 25-12 win.
The Lady Zebras earned a rematch in the bracket semifinals, however, and battled far closer on the next two games.
Claremore started off to a 4-0 lead before Youngblood got the Sandites on the board, and the Zebras didn’t forfeit their advantage till MaKenzie Ward set up Kersgieter and Mutiri for back-to-back kills and a 16-15 lead. From there things finally turned in the Sandites’ favor as the girls won ten straight rallies and won 25-16.
The second game saw the Zebras battling just as hard early on and stepping up their defense with several impressive blocks on Mutiri’s hard-hitting spikes. Claremore led by as much as 8-4 before Sand Springs surged to the lead. Youngblood served up back-to-back aces and Mutiri scored back-to-back kills, one via six-pack, and one on a tipped ball to make it 20-14.
The Zebras staged a rally attempt and closed in to 23-19, but Youngblood and Mutiri notched the final two kills for the victory.
Sand Springs will next play at 5:00 p.m.