Lady ‘Cats showing marked improvement
Two losses in three matches couldn't stop Basehor-Linwood High School volleyball coach Lisa Phelps from glowing about her team's effort.
"Our defense has made huge strides since Saturday," said Phelps at the conclusion of a four-team meet between Basehor, Atchison, Piper, and Immaculata on Tuesday night. "I think tonight everybody contributed, everybody performed. When we plugged in people to give others rest they contributed."
There was good reason for Phelps to feel satisfaction Tuesday night, as the Bobcats began the evening by sweeping Atchison 25-12 and 25-22, before falling to Piper, 25-21 and 25-20.
The Bobcat netters concluded the night by taking Immaculata to three sets before falling 25-21, 21-25, and 21-25. The 'Cats were never beaten by more than five points and led for significant portions of each games in which they fell.
The Piper matchup in particular displayed the resilience of this year's squad as they, at times, faced a front line that towered a good four inches over them.
"When we play a team like that, we rely more on touches," Phelps said. "We also changed from a situational defense to a rotational one and tied to move the ball with one hitter."
For large portions of the first game the strategy seemed to work. Basehor took an early 4-1 lead in the first match behind the serving of senior Morgan Kenney.
Basehor held the lead until Piper seized it at 16-15 and extended it by two more. However, the Bobcats weren't finished, and led by a block and a kill by sophomore Breanna Beebe, they took back the lead at 20-18. Unfortunately, Piper's 6-3 junior Brandi Wall took over the last few points of the game to lead Piper to victory, 25-21.
In the second game of the match, the Bobcats jumped out to an 8-3 lead thanks to three consecutive-service aces from 5-9 senior Jackie White. White's 'knuckleball' style serve proved difficult to handle for each team that Basehor faced. The Bobcats would keep their lead for a while thanks to a couple of cross-court putaways by freshman Chelsey Patton. Still, the Bobcats couldn't hold off the Piper charge, and fell to the Pirates, 25-20.
In the nightcap, Basehor earned a hard-fought victory in the first game against Immaculata, 25-21, thanks to strong play from Patton and 5-9 senior Amanda Hughes.
However, after building a 12-8 lead on the strength of Beebe's front line play in the second game, the Bobcats fell victim to Immaculata senior scoring sensation Emily Vosseler, who led the Raiders to a 25-21 game two victory.
In the rubber game of the match, the Bobcats found themselves down 9-1 before serving by White and front line play by Hughes brought the 'Cats back in it. Basehor even took the lead twice in the game before eventually running out of gas and falling 25-21.
Still, Phelps remained enthusiastic, especially about the play of White.
"Tonight was the first time we've seen Jackie serve so well consistently," she said. "She plays our middle-middle so well. She is just an all-around player."
Phelps' enthusiasm didn't end at White. She praised the entire team.
"I am so proud of everyone tonight," she said. "Tonight I saw the team I wanted to see."
The 3-9 Bobcats will play next Tuesday, September 21, at home against Bishop Ward and Mill Valley. Matches begin at 5:30 p.m.