By Mike Phillips
Unleashing an awesome attack at the net, the Green Ridge Lady Tigers completed the Three-Peat by taking down the Cole Camp Bluebirds 25-17, 25-11 to win their third consecutive Kaysinger Conference Volleyball Tournament championship Saturday night at Cole Camp.
The Lady Tigers, 19-2-1, have not lost since losing twice to Willard in the Willard Tournament early in the season.
“If we don’t come out and play with intensity and the girls don’t come out and do what we have taught them to do, then anyone can beat us,” said victorious Green Ridge coach Lori Larimore, when asked what it would take to beat her squad.
Green Ridge made their way past Northwest 25-19, 25-16 and Lincoln 25-7, 25-12 in pool play matches Saturday morning to advance to play Sacred Heart in the semifinals. In what has become a very competitive rivalry, the Lady Tigers survived a three-game thriller 25-6, 24-26, 27-25 to advance to the title game.
“This has been a very long week,” said Larimore “We won two games earlier in the week and beat Cole Camp. We played two pool matches Thursday and four more today. I’m so proud of them.”
Green Ridge got off to a slow start in the first game of the championship. On a tip kill by Allyson Bahrenberg, the Bluebirds jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead.
“I don’t want to say it was nerves because I don’ think we were nervous,” said Larimore. “I would say it was poor passing on our part.”
Senior setter Ragin Dillon set Libby Dove for a kill and Green Ridge was on the board at 4-1. Dove recorded a stuff block and Bahrenberg mishit a kill to get Green Ridge within 4-3. Cole Camp took a 6-4 lead on a kill by Bahrenberg. But a block by Lady Tiger senor Clare Chamberlin got Green Ridge within 6-5.
An ace by Clare Chamberlin got the game tied at 6-6, but Kaleena Logan got a kill to put Cole Camp back on top 7-6. A kill by Jordyn Smith tied it again at 7-7.
The game was tied at 8-8 and 9-9 before a kill by Dove got Green Rige on top to stay at 10-9 and behind the serving of Dillon and Smith, Green Ridge stated to pull away. With Chamberlin serving, Dove got another kill and Green Ridge led 23-14 late in the game.
“Our back line defense starting doing their jobs, getting the ball to our setters so they could get it up for our hitters,” said Larimore.
Cole Camp began to strengthen on defense, setting off a long run of furious volleys. Cole Camp got no closer than seven, but the Bluebirds defense made Green Ridge work hard to maintain their lead.
Chamberlin finished the first game with an ace.
Cole Camp got a small lead at 2-0 on an ace by Mason Harms to start the second game. A kill by Dillon and a Chamberlin kill tied it 2-2.
Bahrenberg got a kill and Cole Camp was back on top 3-2.
Smith knocked down a kill and stepped to the serving line and ripped off seven straight points to put Green Ridge in command 10-3.
Later, BreAnna Pec reeled off nine straight points to give Green Ridge a 17-5 lead.
It was academic from there.
Dove had 11 kills, four blocks, three aces and tied Peck and Chamberlin for best serve receive percentage. Smith had six kills. Dillon dished out 11 assists to go with her 13 digs. Peck and Molly Turner had 10 digs each.
Cole Camp fell to 10-8-2 on the season.
Sacred Heart, 14-6-6, took the third-place trophy with a 25-15, 25-23 win over Stover, the second seed coming into the tournament.
Cole Camp made it to the championship match with a 25-16, 20-25, 26-24 upset win over Stover in the semifinals. Photos by Randy Kirby, Sedalia News Journal.