The Tigers rolled in game one and got a come-from-behind win in game two to clip visiting Neosho 25-13, 25-18 Tuesday night in volleyball action at Carthage High School.
Maya Williams’ block gave the Tigers a 2-1 lead early in game one, and Carthage would never trail again in winning by 12. Vanessa Pawlak’s tip made it 4-2, and Carthage went up 5-2 on a Neosho net violation.
Three kills by Pawlak and an ace by Williams made it a 9-3 game, but the Wildcats would remain within six points until a kill by Brooklyne Coy and a tip by Amanda Shannon made it 15-8.
Two more Pawlak kills gave Carthage a 19-11 advantage, and a third made it a nine-point game at 21-12. Shannon’s service winner put Carthage ahead 23-12, and a net violation by the Tigers was the only hiccup in closing out game one.
Carthage again started with a 5-2 lead in game two after a kill by Shannon, but Neosho fought back to tie the game at 7, 8, 9 and 10 before taking a 12-10 lead. Carthage trailed 14-11 before Pawlak broke the drought with a kill to pull the Tigers within two points, the start of an 8-0 run with Pawlak serving.
With Carthage leading 19-15, Neosho struck with an ace to pull within three points, but the Wildcats were penalized for an illegal server, giving Carthage a 20-15 lead and a Williams kill and a Neosho net violation extended the lead to seven points.
A tip by Madi Kaempfe gave Carthage a 24-17 lead, and Pawlak finished off the game with a kill to the back row.
“I thought we played really solid in game one,” Carthage head coach Cheryl Sharples said. “In game two we kind of lost our focus a little bit. We were trying to run a few different things offensively and work on that in the game, so that probably gave up a couple points we normally wouldn’t give up.
“Vanessa went back and hit spots really well and served them out of their offense,” Sharples said of the 8-0 run in game two. “That gave us a chance to run our offense against them and be a little more aggressive than them.”
It was Carthage’s final home match of the season, and the team recognized five seniors: Kailey Jefferis, Pawlak, Coy, Shannon and Sierra Barrett.
“All five of our seniors step on the court for us and play a big role on our team,” Sharples said. “They’re a great bunch of kids. I’ve had them for four years, and it’s my first class of four-year kids so it’s really sad to see them go.”
Page 2 of 2 - Carthage plays at McDonald County on Thursday in its final regular-season match, then will face the Mustangs again in the first round of district play next week.
“It’s not ideal, but you do what you have to do,” Sharples said.
Kaempfe had 21 assists for the Tigers, Pawlak had 14 digs and Rayna Jefferis had 13 digs. Pawlak added 13 kills, and Coy finished with six. Williams had two blocks, and both Pawlak and Williams served up three aces.
Carthage won Tuesday’s junior varsity match 25-5, 25-8, and won the freshmen match 25-15, 25-5.