JOPLIN — The second set of the Neosho Lady Wildcats’ Tuesday Class 4, District 11 match against Joplin at Kaminsky Gymnasium symbolized both the hopes and the frustrations of the Neosho volleyball program.
Coming off a 25-13 first set where Neosho was on the short end of that score, the Lady Wildcats hit Joplin with a 7-1 flurry to start the second, highlighted by a trifecta of kills and a pair of service aces. Neosho looked good with spirits high.
Joplin’s side-out, unfortunately for the Lady Wildcats, at 7-2 started a 15-point blitzkrieg for the host Lady Eagles that produced a 16-9 lead en route to a 25-14 set and 2-0 Joplin victory (25-13, 25-14).
Joplin sophomore Audrey Ritter and her jump serve basically knocked out Neosho during that 15-0 run as Ritter tallied seven aces. The Lady Wildcats struggled miserably at serve receive at the most inopportune time, and they seemed to struggle with communication most of the match.
Neosho finished with a 6-25-1 record. Please keep in mind the Lady Wildcats had a combined four wins in the previous three seasons with three coming last season.
“Next year will be the first year that we actually put together a junior-senior team,” Neosho head coach Ann Landrum said. “Honestly. It will be the fourth year we’ve had freshmen-sophomores and one senior here, one senior there, one junior here, one junior there. It will be the oldest team we’ve had. We’ll see what we can do.
“You’ve got to pass. You have to pass the ball. We’re better, but better doesn’t cut it in the COC. You have to have it.”
King led Neosho with four kills and Savannah Merriman added three. Ashley Sims led with five assists and Shelby Roberts had three. Emma Hames and King each came up with six digs and Kayla Butler added three.
In the other district quarterfinal Tuesday, No. 3 seed Carl Junction dispatched McDonald County 2-0 (25-13, 25-6).
McDonald County finished 2-25 on the season.