College of the Ozarks Lady Bobcat volleyball collected a five-set victory on Friday evening to advance to the 2019 NCCAA DI Women’s Volleyball National Championship match.
After winning two matches on Thursday, the Lady Bobcats took the court on Friday morning for their final match of pool play. The Lady Cats struggled to pick up where they had left off the day before and, despite a valiant effort, fell in three sets (20-25, 18-25, 19-25) to the number two seed, Trinity International University (Ill.).
Their loss placed them in a three-way tie (2-1) in their pool with Trinity and Providence Christian College (Calif.). In accordance with NCCAA rules, Providence qualified for the first semi-final position, and the Lady Cats and Trinity Trojans played one 25-point tie-breaker set mid-afternoon Friday to determine who would advance to the first semi-final match.
The two teams battled once again, with the Lady Cats posting a 25-22 victory. Leading the Lady Bobcats in the set were freshman Abbie Menzies (Clever, Mo..) driving down six kills (.500 hitting percentage) and Rielly Wallace scooping 11 digs and dishing eight assists.
Shortly thereafter, the Lady Bobcats took the court in the semi-finals match against No. 1 seed Southwestern Assemblies of God (SAGU) from Texas, who posted a 3-0 record in pool play. Set one found C of O opening up with an early lead, but SAGU responded to tie the game midway through. The two teams battled back and forth, with the SAGU Lions edging out the Lady Cats for a 25-23 victory. C of O was not to be shut down, coming back in sets two and three to claim a 25-18 and 25-22 win. In set four, the two teams were knotted at 20 points apiece, but SAGU captured a 25-23 victory. The battle continued in the deciding set, with C of O outscoring the Lions 15-12 to advance to the semi-finals.
The Lady Cats tallied 66 kills in the match and had 3 solo and 20 block assists. Lady Cat Rielly Wallace posted a triple-double in the match, tallying 10 kills, 50 assists, and 14 digs, alongside one solo and 2 block assists. Ryley Thixton put up a double-double, with 20 kills and 20 digs. Izzy Gibbany and Haley Stallings recorded 30 and 26 digs respectively. Kaylan Smith put down 12 kills with a .423 hitting percentage and led all players with one solo and six block assists.
The number three seed Lady Bobcats’ record now stands at 23-13 on the season. They will play in the championship match at Noon today against number four seed Judson University (Ill.) in Keeter Gymnasium on the College of the Ozarks campus.