The Rolla volleyball team (4-6) played in the Show Me Showdown at West Plains on Saturday, Sept. 9. The Lady Bulldogs had an up and down day in the tournament, placing fourth in the tournament with a 2-3 record.
The Lady Bulldogs opened the Show Me Showdown with a great win over Poplar Bluff in straight sets. Rolla won both sets by the same score of 25-22, overcoming some recent issues of closing out sets. They followed that game by playing the host school in the second round of pool play. Rolla fell in straight sets to West Plains 19-25, 21-25. They rounded out pool play by facing off against with a 25-16, 25-19 win over Houston to take second in the pool.
That second seed put them up against perennial 2A powerhouse Mountain View-Liberty. Rolla lost in the first set 19-25 and trailed 10-18 in the second set before a phenomenal comeback to take the set 26-24 to force a third set. The Lady Bulldogs ran out of gas in the third set, however, falling 17-25. That gave the Lady Bulldogs a rematch with West Plains, who lost to Blair Oaks in three sets in the other semi-final. The entire match was back and forth, but West Plains had the stronger finishes to take the match 19-25, 25-27.
"We struggled once again with passing at a high rate, which makes it hard to set the middle and right side," said head coach Stephanie Pritchett. "When we can get our middles, Shelby Ply and Rebecca Janke, involved, it opens up the rest of our offense as well. The girls continue to grow and get better and it's nice to see us coming along. Of course we want to win, that's no question, but if we keep moving forward that's something."
Megan Brown led the team offensively with 20 kills over the span of their five games with Ply and Janke each adding 19. Loran Pritchett added 16, while Courtney Colench chipping in 13. Ply had a great all-around tournament outside of her 19 kills. She also added eight aces, six digs and 9.5 blocks. Pritchett and Sophie Parsons shared the team lead in assists with 38 each. Defensively, Madalyn Franks led the team in digs with 24, while Macy Moreland and Pritchett each had 22. Ami Ikuenobe and Parsons each added 19 and Leah Rasco had 17.
"We are getting there," said coach Pritchett. "I really think the girls are starting to gel a little more and see that we can win games. Now we just have to get over the hump and start and finish games strongly. We face Helias this week at Helias, which is a huge challenge, but we hope to continue to grow."