Strong second set leads Sikeston volleyball to straight-set win over Charleston
SIKESTON — Emily Pullen’s first season as the Sikeston head volleyball coach has been a struggle.
Coming into Monday’s match against Charleston, the Bulldogs entered with a 2-11 record, with none of the wins coming at home, until Monday night.
The Bulldogs defeated the Blue Jays in straight-sets, 27-25, 25-7 to earn their first victory at the Sikeston Field House.
A tale of two sets, the Bulldogs came out of the gates slow, falling behind the Blue Jays 9-5, before eventually tying the match at 19.
“We came out, and we were very complacent,” Pullen said. “We weren’t talking, we weren’t moving, and that was seen. Charleston fought tonight. We couldn’t just roll over during this match. They were getting balls, they blocked us — shut us down a couple of times — but we finished it. So, you take the good wins with the pretty wins and all that. First, win on the home court, so that’s exciting.
The second set was a much different outcome.
Sikeston (3-11) dominated Charleston (2-7), winning 25-7, as Pullen credited her team’s ability to play with their hearts on the floor.
“Second set, that’s how we should have been on both sets,” Pullen said. “The girls just played with their hearts on the floor; they didn’t let anything hit the floor. We did much better on our serving the second set; the first set, we had four-to-six missed serves. And, when you have that, that’s just a no-no in volleyball.
“But, we pulled it together; came out and got our first win on the floor. I’m excited. I think the girls needed that. They’re excited, and we have three matches back-to-back this week, so hopefully, we’ll be getting another win.”
The Bulldogs finished the match with 19 kills. Emily McHaffie led the team with nine.
Taydrianna Barnett added four, while Trashiona Ranson had three. Shania Hodges had two, and Khrystionna Swann had one.
Barnett led the team in service aces, with three. McHaffie and Emma-Claire Self also pitched in, with two each.
Barnett also led the team in assists, with eight of the 14. Self finished with six.
Alivia Cobb led the team in the back-row with 10 of the team’s 31 digs. McHaffie finished with nine, while Armani Hodges and Self each had four.
Swann finished with a pair of digs as well, while Barnett and Ranson each had one.
After a strong first set, the Blue Jays struggled to string points together in the second.
Charleston finished with eight kills, as Kania Wiley led the team with five.
Nicole Hart had seven assists and three digs, both of which were team highs.
“I was excited after the first set,” Charleston head coach Lenzi O’Connor said. “We led up until 19, so we had the momentum, and we were hoping to keep that to the second game. Then, we started making mistakes and fell apart, and it was a tough loss.”