The South Pemiscot varsity volleyball team with its first-place plaques following its win against Malden in the championship of the Bootheel Conference volleyball tournament Thursday.
"I knew they did well last season," Woolverton said. "I knew we had most of the same girls coming back. I thought they were going to have a great season."
The top-seeded Bulldogs entered Thursday's Bootheel Conference Tournament championship against second-seeded Malden with a perfect 8-0 record against conference opponents.
The Bulldogs continued its onslaught of Bootheel Conference foes Thursday night when it cruised to a convincing 25-12, 25-18, championship victory at Malden.
It is the third straight season South Pemiscot has won the Bootheel Conference volleyball tournament at the varsity level.
"I think it says something about them," Woolverton said of the 3-peat. "They've got a great team, they are a good group of girls and they've got a lot of talent."
South Pemiscot never trailed set 1 of the championship. The Bulldogs tallied five of the first six points for an early 5-1 lead.
"We had two days to think about it and came in with a solid game plan," Malden coach Jon Smith said. "When we executed what we wanted to do I thought the game plan was sound. It was almost like a snow ball. You make a couple of bad plays and then you get afraid of losing and start looking at everyone else making bad plays. It just kind of tumbled out of control and got away from us tonight."
Malden trimmed the deficit to 5-3 before South Pemiscot responded by scoring the next 10 points to stretch its lead to 15-3.
"We just played hard and didn't give up," Woolverton said of the 10-0 run. "They kept fighting and going for the ball. They never let up."
Malden put together a mini run of its own near the end of set 1 when it scored four straight points to cut South Pemiscot's lead to 24-12.
"We had some good momentum coming out of the first set," Smith said. "Anytime you are getting smacked like that you want to salvage something. I thought we started playing better and executed better. It carried over a little bit to [set 2], but it was like the snow ball from the first game. We were playing well and hanging in there and then they went on a three or four point run and all that stuff from the first set just crept back into the brain."
Malden led by one point three times before either team reached five points in set 2. South Pemiscot scored four straight points to take an 8-4 lead before Malden followed with a 6-1 run to move back on top 10-9.
"I think Malden decided to turn it on," Woolverton said of trailing early in set 2. "My girls probably got a little flustered. They regrouped and got things going again."
South Pemiscot tallied the next six points in set 2 to move back on top 15-10 and led by at least four the remainder of the game.
Malden and South Pemiscot are both in contention for a high seed in their respective district tournament. Malden's record stands at 17-10-1 following Thursday's conference title game and South Pemiscot's record is 21-3.
Malden will host Class 2, District 1. The Green Wave have already collected wins against all five teams -- Caruthersville, Hayti, Portageville, Senath-Hornersville and Twin Rivers -- in its six-team district.
"If everything shakes out the way I think it will we should be the first or second seed," Smith said. "That should put us in a good spot. We are looking forward to the opportunity to come to another big game, make some adjustments and play a little better."
South Pemiscot will play in Class 1, District 1, at Gideon with Cooter, Delta C-7, Gideon, Holcomb, North Pemiscot and Southland. South Pemiscot is the defending Class 1, District 1, champion.
All three of South Pemiscot's losses this season are to teams in Class 1, District 1. Gideon has two wins against South Pemiscot this season and Cooter has one win against the Bulldogs.
"I'm looking forward to it," Woolverton said of the district. "We are going to face tougher teams in the district than we did here so we've got to prepare next week and be ready to go the week after in the district."
The Malden defense passes a ball in the varsity BHC final Thursday. [Order this photo]