The Lakers put some pressure on the Indians, not giving up many easy points, and a consistent barrage of spikes on Osage's side of the net eventually led to a win in two sets.
Camdenton stayed on the offensive Monday night in a Lake area showdown with neighbor Osage.
The Lakers put some pressure on the Indians, not giving up many easy points, and a consistent barrage of spikes on Osage’s side of the net eventually led to a win in two sets. The first set was a fairly close battle Camdenton won 25-20 after a service ace from senior Shelby Kurtz and whatever clicked in the first set carried to the second as the visitors left little doubt in a 25-14 win that closed out on an Osage attacking error.
“We got in a groove and did not try anything fancy,” Camdenton coach Austin Walker said of the second set where her team made fewer errors, never trailed by more than a single point and implemented a 4-0 run and 5-0 run to build a commanding lead. “Just tried to find the hole, put the ball in play and it worked for us there.”
It also helps to have some reliable communication and that is what junior Sydney Smith felt her team had as she led the attack with six kills along with senior Megan Vest and sophomore Payton Kincaid. On the defensive end, junior Olivia Whittle posted a team-leading nine digs.
“Any time we messed up we came together in the huddle, brought each other up and would not let one another get down,” Smith noted.
Smith also led the team with 11 assists while senior Clare Holmes added eight. Spending a significant amount of time as a setter herself, the junior knows what it takes to create a strong attack and noted that the relationship between setters and hitters among the Lakers is a strong one.
“I am very confident with our setter. We have great communication skills and we are very close,” Smith stated. “It is just a very close bond between all of us.”
That bond has only continued to grow, especially when Camdenton entered Monday’s battle having just played four games over the weekend at the Hillcrest Tournament where the team finished fourth.
“I always think you get better at tournaments. I think at the end of the day we ran out of steam and kind of got away from the things we know to do,” Walker said of Saturday’s slate. “I was kind of excited to see that because then we can say, ‘Ok, these are the things we need to work on and do better at.’ I think tonight, that is what our focus was and we were able to do those things better we needed to do.”
Another thing Walker was glad to see on display is the continued development of junior Jackie White and her presence at the net as she finished the night with two blocks.
“I feel like our blocking has been better. Jackie worked so hard this weekend,” the coach remarked. “Tonight she was touching balls and trying to get herself in there in the game. She had a couple of hitting errors, but that can be fixed. Her blocking and work ethic are really standing out right now.”
Osage has certainly seen better nights on the court, even if Camdenton made things a bit more challenging.
“They were pretty solid and were tough to put the ball down on. I think we had a lot of good, long rallies and a lot of them just ended in their favor,” Osage coach Lori Klaus noted.
When things are not going the way the Indians would like, Klaus pointed out that communication is vital.
“Communication keeps us focused and together and just passing well and being aggressive with our serves,” the coach said of what it takes to respond.
Junior Alisa Boswell, junior Carly Hamby, senior Emily Steen and junior Sara Wolf paced the Osage attack with three kills each and junior Elizabeth Groos added two kills of her own while junior Paige Rowland provided 10 assists. Defensively, Wolf recorded eight digs, senior Emily Dulle had five and Rowland recorded four to lead the way.
“I think my middles (hitters) did a really good job tonight of being big at the net and made a lot of smart plays. We played well off and on, just had a couple of losses in communication in the second game,” Klaus noted after her team lost what she felt was a decent first set.
“Our passing went downhill a little bit. Then we missed back-to-back serves and I think that put us in a 7-point hole and we just never recovered.”
At the same time, Osage’s competitiveness did not go unnoticed. Smith has played club volleyball with Wolf for two years and commended her team’s fight.
“It is good knowing how competitive they are, knowing we have to come to a higher level,” Smith said of the battle between Lake area neighbors.
Osage (2-2, 1-1 Tri-County Conference) continues a busy week as the Indians were scheduled to host Waynesville Tuesday night before visiting Eugene on Thursday at 6:45 p.m.
“Big week with three games but we left telling the girls, ‘Don’t hang your heads. Hold your heads high tonight, you played well.’ We just look forward to getting better tomorrow and hopefully coming home with a ‘W,’” Klaus said Monday night.
Camdenton (7-3, 1-0 Ozark Conference) was scheduled to host Republic on Tuesday before visiting Kickapoo on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. Walker noted Republic will make her club have to find ways to score points and the Ozark Conference grind will not be an easy one as the lakers get ready for Kickapoo.
“I would expect us to be in the top part of our conference. That comes with hard work, the practice, doing the right things and being able to take care of our job on our side of the net,” the coach said.
“It is a whole different season once you hit that conference. I’m looking forward to it, though. I’m looking forward to seeing how our girls react, seeing what we do against those teams and pushing ourselves to be better.”