Playing short-handed because of injury, the Republic Lady Tigers may have lacked their usual confidence heading into a key COC matchup against Ozark. Despite that, they forced a third set before Ozark won 25-18 25-27 25-16.
Republic celebrated Senior Night, honoring six seniors before the game: Alex Botkin, Sarah Kreul, Brandy Glessner, Nikki Barton, Hannah Willis and Haley Willis.
Republic was playing without Botkin, who injured her ankle at the Lebanon Tournament last weekend. They had already lost Micah Mansker to injury earlier. Coach Piper Wright says the injuries may have affected the team’s confidence early on.
“I don’t know if everybody on our team came in expecting to win like I like for them to,” she says. “But I think we saw in that second game that we can.
“They adjusted to the things that we were getting a lot of points off of, and I don’t think we adjusted or responded well to that,” Wright says.
The second game was the highlight of the match for Republic. They built a six-point lead at 17-11 before watching it slip away. They ended up trailing 24-21, facing three match points, but clawed their way back to win 27-25 and force a third game.
Wright says the match will be a building block for her team down the stretch, despite Tuesday’s outcome.
“Ozark’s a very strong program. They have a pretty good record for the tough, tough teams that they’ve played, but we know we can beat them. We know it can be done now,” she says. “There are a lot of teams that haven’t even taken a set off them, and I guarantee we’re going to see them again this season.”
Brandy Glessner had nine kills and three blocks for the Lady Tigers. Maddy Sherman had 17 digs to lead Republic. Sarah Kreul had 26 assists.
Republic falls to 18-6. They’re 4-1 in COC play. Ozark is 17-6, and 5-0 in the conference.
Junior Varsity Scores: Ozark def. Republic 24-26 25-14 25-6 Freshman Scores: Republic def. Ozark 25-21 25-20