The Rolla and St. James volleyball teams both had games on Thursday, Sept. 6 with Rolla traveling to Kickapoo and St. James hosting Bourbon. The Lady Tigers got back into the win column with a two set sweep, while Rolla fell in straight sets for their first conference loss of the season.

St. James holds on for sweep 

The Lady Tigers got out to an excellent start on Thursday night, cruising to a 25-10 win in the opening set. The second set was a little more stressful on account of some service mistakes, but they were still able to hold on for a 25-20 win. 

St. James had a slew of strong hitting performances on the night, with five players recording multiple kills. Mackenna Rodgers led the charge with four kills, while also leading the team in assists with seven. Her excellent night was rounded out by another team-high in aces with seven. Camille Bullock, Raina Forstrom and Hannah Marcee each followed Rodgers in the hitting department with three kills a piece. Bullock added three aces on the night and a team-high six digs, while Marcee chipped in with another two aces and three digs. Makayla Case had a well rounded night with two aces, two kills, four digs. 

The JV also earned a victory on the night. After losing the first set 20-25, they stormed back to win the second and third sets by the same score of 25-17. 

"The first match was better than the second," said head coach Julie Guese. "Missed serves really killed our momentum in the second match. It was nice to get the win, but we still need to find our groove." 

St. James will have the week off before playing in the Cuba Tournament on Saturday, Sept. 15. 

Rolla struggles with strong Kickapoo serves 

The Lady Bulldogs struggled to get into a rhythm when they traveled down to Kickapoo on Thursday. After a slow start, Rolla fought back to have a competitive first set, but still fell 16-25. The second set was much closer throughout, with a tight score until the teams were tied at 16. Kickapoo was able to make a couple of small runs down the stretch to put Rolla away 20-25. 

"Kickapoo served really tough and we had a hard time with that. Our team serve receive needs to be over a 2.0 on a 3.0 scale in order to run our offense - it was a 1.2...That is not normal for this team and we will be working on our confidence, reading the serve, and reaction to continue to improve on serve receive. We have the firepower, we just need that first pass," said head coach Stephanie Pritchett. "We could not effectively run the sets we wanted to. When we did, we were successful. We played with them in every aspect except first pass which affected the ability for us to kill the ball."

Despite the tough loss, Rolla had some strong performances. Megan Brown had a nice night serving with an ace and five service points to go along with four kills and a block assist. Shelby Ply added four kills and a block. Rebecca Janke, Loran Pritchett, Sophie Parsons and Parker Bourne each added a kill. Janke chipped in another block and two assist blocks. Parsons led the team in assists with seven, while Pritchett added three more. Pritchett then added eight digs, while Parsons had six.

Despite the rough night passing, coach Pritchett was happy with how her team responded with the loss.

"The girls immediately stated things they want to work on to improve," said the Rolla head coach. "I am really proud of them and their desire to get better individually and as a team." 

Rolla has a busy week ahead of them next week, as they'll play three games before a tournament on Saturday. They'll open the week at home against Sullivan on Monday, before a trip to Jeff City on Tuesday, hosting Union on Thursday and the West Plains Tournament on Saturday.