By Mike Phillips
Perhaps with the feeling of a loss to the Smith-Cotton Lady Tigers this past summer in the Helias Tournament, the Helias Lady Crusaders came to Sedalia Monday night with a little vengeance on their minds in the season opener for both teams at the Smith-Cotton gym.
Featuring a starting lineup with four starters over 6-foot, the Lady Crusaders defeated an improved Lady Tiger team 25-17, 25-17.
Helias. 1-0, pounded out 31 kills in the match, hard slashing shots when they had to, cross court slams and tip finishes when the Lady Tigers did get to the net to try and block. They even bounced a few kills off the hands of S-C blockers..
Sophomore Abby Knight, who was expected to miss the match after breaking her wrist in summer volleyball, led S-C up front with five kills and four blocks. Senior Haley Gleason, a transfer from Sacred Heart, had three kills and two blocks.
S-C’s back row defense, led by Cynthia Perez, kept several Lady Crusader kill attempts in play and got the ball back to the net in transition.
When it came down to stats, S-C’s serving really hurt. They missed six serves and gave up eight service aces. That cost them 14 unforced error points in the match.
S-C got down 15-7 in the first game but got back within 18-14 on a kill by Gleason, but a pair of missed serves allowed Helias to pull away to the win in the opener.
Helias went up 12-4 in the second game, but the Lady Tigers closed the gap to 12-7 on two Helias kill attempts that sailed wide and a missed Lady Crusader serve.
Three consecutive kills, a kill block and two service aces and Helia had their biggest margin of the night at 20-7.
S-C, 0-1, got no closer than seven the rest of the way.
Helias made it a clean sweep on the night with a 25-17, 25-8 win in the freshman match and a 25-3, 25-11 win in the junior varsity match.
The Lady Tiger volleyball teams opened West Central Conference play Tuesday night at Clinton. Photos by Randy Kirby, Sedalia News Journal.