South Pemiscot, Malden volleyball teams advance to Bootheel Conference title game
Note: 34 Photos of the Bootheel Conference volleyball tournament are available in a photo gallery at this link: Volleyball Photos
MALDEN, Mo. - The championship is set in the varsity bracket of the Bootheel Conference volleyball tournament following preliminary action Tuesday night.
There were no upsets in the first two rounds of the 7-team tournament on Tuesday setting the stage for top-seed South Pemiscot to square off against second-seeded Malden Thursday at 7 p.m. for the conference tournament title.
Malden booked its ticket to the championship with a 25-18, 25-17, semifinal win against third-seeded Hayti.
"We came to play," Malden coach Jon Smith said of the win against Hayti. "We were aggressive from the start. One of the things we've talked about all year is coming out aggressive. We got a big lead so we could withstand some runs from a good Hayti team."
South Pemiscot remained perfect against Bootheel Conference teams when it beat Kennett 25-14, 23-25, 25-18, in its semifinal match.
"I thought they did pretty well," South Pemiscot first-year coach Cassy Woolverton said. "They had a couple of days off over the weekend and the day off yesterday because of the junior varsity game. I was a little worried, but felt like they came out ready to play.
Kennett coach Kristy Green added: "I think we got a little bit rattled. They have a big block. I think we made fewer mistakes on our swinging tonight, but we swung into the block more. We struggled with swinging around the block. We've got two more week to work on that and get better before the district."
Kennett (12-11) is off until Monday when it travels to play arch rival Senath-Hornersville.
South Pemiscot (20-3) is one victory away from winning the varsity Bootheel Conference Tournament in volleyball for a third straight season. South Pemiscot beat Senath-Hornersville in the 2010 and 2011 varsity Bootheel Conference tournament championship games.
"All the teams get better as the season progresses," Woolverton said. "Once the tournament comes it's a whole different game. We are pretty excited and we are just going to give it our best.
"I'm pretty impressed with them," Woolverton said of her team. "Our three losses are to Gideon twice and Cooter once so I think we are doing pretty well."
Malden (17-9-1) suffered a straight set loss to South Pemiscot on Aug. 30.
"We are going to have our work cutout for us," Smith said. "South Pemiscot is the No. 1 seed for a reason. We played them pretty close in the regular season. They've got a couple of good girls we are going to make sure and prepare for. We want to make sure we cover all of their tendencies and be as prepared as we can be."
Malden will have the luxury of hosting the conference championship, which is hosted by all seven schools in the conference once every seven years.
"We definitely have an advantage in that standpoint," Smith said. "We were pretty excited we were going to get to host it on a year we were going to have a pretty good team. This is a chance for the Malden faithful to come out and support the team. It's a really good opportunity for the girls to play in front of a home crowd as well."
Three varsity quarterfinal games were played Tuesday afternoon before the varsity semifinals.
In the first varsity quarterfinal No. 4 seeded Kennett beat No. 5 seeded Portageville 26-24, 25-20.
"I was glad the girls came out and we were able to win an early game," Green said. "I'm glad the girls were able to fight to win the first set. They had a tough loss last week at Hayti. I was worried that would carry into the conference tournament. I talked to them about the season starting over this week and they pulled together and got a win in their first game tonight."
Malden beat seventh-seeded Caruthersville 25-14, 25-18, in the second varsity quarterfinal.
"It was a good effort," Smith said of the win against Caruthersville. "Anytime you get a win in a tournament it's a good thing."
Hayti defeated No. 6 seeded Senath-Hornersville 25-22, 25-14, in the final varsity quarterfinal.
"We came out playing a little slow," Hayti coach Alberta Cooper said. "Our downfall was our serving. Serves hurt us a little bit, but not too much because Senath-Hornersville also missed serves. We picked it up in the end. We started setting and hitting the ball pretty well after the first set."
JUNIOR VARSITY TOURNAMENT
Top-seeded Kennett is set to meet third-seeded Caruthersville in the junior varsity title game Thursday at 6 p.m. in Malden.
Kennett advanced to the finals with a 25-13, 25-15, semifinal win against Hayti Monday night.
No. 3 seeded Caruthersville earned its spot in the championship with a 25-18, 25-15, quarterfinal win against No. 6 seeded Senath-Hornersville and a 25-23, 25-18, semifinal victory against second-seeded Malden.
"The girls are pumped about playing Caruthersville for the championship," Green said. "If they win that game they will finish perfect in the conference. That's always exciting for a team. When we played Caruthersville earlier in the season we beat them in two sets. I'm hoping that is a good indicator of what we can accomplish on Thursday."
Hayti beat fourth-seeded South Pemiscot 25-12, 24-26, 25-22 Monday in a junior varsity quarterfinal contest. Malden beat No. 7 seeded Portageville 25-15, 25-11, in the other junior varsity quarterfinal contest Monday.