Colonels Advance to SAA Volleyball Semis with Victory over Rhodes
CONWAY, Ark. (CentreColonels.com) – The last time the Centre volleyball team was in action, the Colonels suffered a decisive defeat at the hands of the Rhodes Lynx in Rhodes's Senior Day Game. That outcome set up another matchup between Centre and Rhodes in the quarterfinals of the Southern Athletic Association Tournament at Hendrix, and this time, the Colonels exacted revenge for the loss with a victory over the Lynx in four tough sets.
The opening set of the contest was fought tooth and nail, with neither team leading by more than three points for the duration. Rhodes held a small lead for the majority of the opening frame and forced Centre into a set point at 24-23, but freshman Margaret Cowens (Memphis, Tenn.) staved off the set point with a clutch kill and Centre came away with a 27-25 victory after a pair of Rhodes errors awarded the set to the Colonels.
Rhodes came out swinging in the second set, scoring the first eight points of the set and never looking back, cruising to a 25-10 win to even the match.
The second set would prove to be an anomaly in this match, both in margin of victory and outcome. Just like in the first set, neither team led by more than three points at any time in the set. Centre forced a set point at 24-22 thanks to a tandem block from senior Katherine Hagan (Whitesville, Ky.) and sophomore Lizzie Royster (Lincoln, Neb.), and then a bad set by the Lynx gave the Colonels a 25-23 victory and a 2-1 lead in the contest.
The Colonels played their best in the fourth and final set, gradually extending their lead as the set progressed. Leading 19-15 and facing a Rhodes rally, head coach James Neyhouse quelled the momentum with a timeout and Centre reeled off four straight points as junior Hailey Foote provided a kill and a block in the run. Senior Shelby Foote (Prospect, Ky.) set up her cousin Hailey to set up a match point at 24-17, but Rhodes proved to be tough to put away, scoring the next four. Finally a service error by the Lynx gave the Colonels the match with a 25-21 fourth set win.
Hailey Foote recorded a team high 14 kills while Katherine Hagan had eight and Lizzie Royster added six. Shelby Foote racked up a game high 38 of the Colonels' 43 assists on the day. Junior Morgan Babey (LaGrange, Ky.) paced the Colonels with 20 digs in the match, followed by Hailey Foote with 18 and seniors Shelby Foote and Katherine Hagan with 12 each.
The fifth seeded Colonels will advance to the conference semifinals where they will face top seed and host school Hendrix at noon CST.