Sept. 28 Volleyball Power Rankings

Each week, OzarksSportsZone.com will release local volleyball power rankings. Like our other power rankings, these rankings will be based on dominance by Class, not head-to-head.

Recent success and strength of schedule are also factored into the rankings.

Overall record, Class and previous ranking are listed in parenthesis.

SEPT. 21 VB POWER RANKINGS
SEPT. 14 VB POWER RANKINGS
SEPT. 7 VB POWER RANKINGS
AUG. 31 VB POWER RANKINGS

1. Strafford (18-1-1, C2, PR: 1) – The Indians squeaked by Marionville in a close two-set win (27-25, 25-22) at home last night. That was Strafford’s closest match since its lone loss of the season, 2-1 to Lebanon way back on Aug. 27. Strafford may have been peaking ahead somewhat to Thursday night’s showdown with Fair Grove, but also give credit to Marionville. The Comets are a decent Class 2 team (13-5-1 overall) and will likely be the No. 2 seed in their district tournament. Strafford rode an 18-kill, 7-dig, 8-assist effort by Chloe Rear to victory against Marionville. Gracie Morton added 10 digs and a team-high 21 assists, while Rilie Vote tallied 10 kills.

Upcoming games: Sept. 29 @ Fair Grove, Oct. 1 @ Stockton Invitational (Tournament), Oct. 3 vs. Conway, Oct. 6 vs. Skyline

2. Rogersville (17-4, C3, PR: 2) – The Wildcats added wins over Springfield Catholic and West Plains over the past seven days and are poised to enter districts in three weeks with around 25 wins. Going forward, the road is set up favorably for Rogersville. The Wildcats, if they can win districts, would host a quarterfinal/sectional pod that no longer includes perennial power Pleasant Hill. While Helias Catholic would likely await should the Wildcats make the quarterfinals, the degree of difficulty for Rogersville to get to Class 3 state isn’t as high as it has been in recent years.

Upcoming games: Sept. 29 vs. Bolivar, Oct. 1 @ Neosho Tournament, Oct. 4 @ Marshfield, Oct. 6 vs. Hollister

3. Ozark (15-6, C4, PR: 3) – Ozark’s recent results include comfortable two-set wins over Branson (25-17, 25-11) and Republic (25-16, 25-13). The COC-Large is very good this year, but the Tigers are poised to claim an undefeated league title if they can beat the likes of Willard, Webb City and Nixa in the coming weeks. The thing you have to love and respect about Ozark is that the Tigers will play any school, of any size, anywhere – ranging from a home-and-home series with local Class 2 power Mountain View-Birch Tree/Liberty, to a road doubleheader this Saturday with St. Louis area stronghold St. Jospeh’s Academy (ranked No. 1 for St. Louis area high schools by STLhighschoolsports.com) and 2015 state runner-up St. Teresa’s Academy of Kansas City.

Upcoming games: Sept. 29 vs. Willard, Oct. 1 @ St. Joseph’s Academy, Oct. 1 @ St. Teresa’s Academy, Oct. 4 @ Webb City, Oct. 6 vs. Nixa

4. MV-BT/Liberty (14-5, C2, PR: 5) – I had some trouble figuring out who to slot here at No. 4, but settled on Liberty as the Eagles – despite a pair of losses at the Carl Junction Classic last weekend – have still yet to lose to a fellow Class 2 school this season. While I obviously think Strafford is the better team right now since they’re ranked No. 1, Liberty has played a stronger schedule up to this point. The Eagles’ five losses have come against the likes of: Ozark, Blair Oaks (15-0, Class 3), Dexter (16-4-2, Class 3), Lebanon (13-6, Class 4) and Class 3 state title contender Helias Catholic (25-5-2). Recapping Liberty’s recent stretch of games: a 2-0 win at Mountain Grove on Sept. 22, a 2-0 loss (25-19, 25-19) loss at Dexter last night and a 2-2 showing at the CJ Classic last weekend. In the Dexter game, the Eagles had no answer for Dexter junior Krysten Garrison, who had a monster game with 15 kills, 2 solo blocks and 10 digs. Liberty beat Webb City and Neosho at the CJ Classic while losing to Helias and Lebanon.

Upcoming games: Oct. 1 @ Licking Classic (Tournament), Oct. 3 @ Licking, Oct. 4 vs. Willow Springs, Oct. 6 vs. Ava

5. Eminence (11-7, C1, PR: 3) – The Redwings went from not playing many games around mid-September to playing a lot of them over the past four days. Eminence went 1-3 at last weekend’s CJ Classic, beating a Class 3 Marshfield team while losing to Carl Junction, Rogers (Ark.) and Girard (Kan.). The Redwings certainly took their lumps at that event, but it should benefit them when the Class 1 postseason arrives. Despite a win over Mtn. Grove on Monday, a three-set loss at Class 1 Lesterville (14-5-1 overall) last night drops the Redwings down two spots this week.

Upcoming games: Sept. 29 @ Summersville, Oct. 1 @ Licking Classic (Tournament), Oct. 4 @ Ellington

6. Winona (14-7, C1, PR: 7) – Like the Wheaton or Miller, Miller or Wheaton (?) argument from last week, there doesn’t appear to be much separation between Shannon County foes Eminence and Winona. Although Eminence won the regular season meeting, Winona has wins over teams that Eminence lost to. Districts should be fun. Winona went 2-1 since last Wednesday, rebounding from a Sept. 22 loss to Dexter with wins over Ellington and Willow Springs. Like MV-BT Liberty, Winona also had trouble stopping Dexter’s Krysten Garrison. She had 23 kills and 13 digs against Winona. Against Willow Springs, Winona got a combined 20 kills between Kyndal Thomason, Lilly Wright and Kiley Counts. Junior Delaney Hicks registered 22 of Winona’s 66 digs.

Upcoming games: Sept. 29 vs. Mountain Grove, Oct. 4 @ Poplar Bluff, Oct. 6 vs. Summersville

7. Kickapoo (21-6, C4, PR: 6) – Against some true heaveyweights, Kickapoo went 3-2 at the Blue Springs South Invitational over the weekend, winning its pool division but losing to St. James Academy (Kan.) and Class 4 Final Four contender Francis Howell (21-1-1 overall). St. James is 13-11 overall, but that’s a very misleading record. Around the BSS Tournament, Kickapoo easily beat Parkview on Sept. 22 then bested Jefferson City (25-11, 16-25, 25-15) at home last night. Kickapoo faces a big conference game tomorrow night when it hosts Hillcrest, in a matchup of teams that have yet to lose an Ozark Conference game. Allison Long, Madison Bowles and Azyah Green continue to lead a three-monster attack; all three have between 135-150 kills through 62 sets this season. Setter Kaelyn Faria is averaging 7.2 assists per set.

Upcoming games: Sept. 28 vs. Hillcrest, Oct. 4 @ Joplin, Oct. 6 @ Glendale

8. Fair Grove (18-4, C2, PR: 8) – The Eagles held off an upset-minded Class 3 Mt. Vernon team on the road last week, prevailing 23-25, 25-14, 25-22. Sophomore Alana Findley had 12 kills (4 per set), 4 assisted blocks and nine digs, overcoming a 15-kill effort by Mt. Vernon senior Morgan Hull. Fair Grove had a convincing 25-11, 25-11 win over Pleasant Hope last night, behind 12 kills from Findley and 19 combined assists from Maranntha Holliman and Tori Fishback. Strafford-Fair Grove tomorrow night should be a good one. It’s a series that’s been dominated by Fair Grove since 2010 – the Eagles are 10-2 against Strafford in that span – although Strafford has ended Fair Grove’s season in districts the past two years.

Upcoming games: Sept. 29 vs. Strafford, Oct. 1 @ Stockton Invitational (Tournament) Oct. 4 @ Ash Grove, Oct. 6 vs. Marionville

9. Wheaton (17-3-2, C1, PR: 11) – The Bulldogs suffered just their third loss of the season over the weekend, falling to Huntsville (Ark.) in the finals of the Southwest Volleyfest. Wheaton took the first set 25-15, before Hunstville claimed the next two, 25-19 and 25-20. For comparison’s sake, Huntsville is 13-9 overall with an enrollment of approximately 650 students, which is the equivalent of a Class 3 school in Missouri, so that’s certainly not a bad loss for Wheaton. Wheaton can take another step toward an undefeated Ozark 7 title when it travels to Exeter tomorrow night.

Upcoming games: Sept. 29 @ Exeter, Oct. 3 vs. Seneca, Oct. 4 vs. Monett

10. Miller (16-3-1, C1, PR: 11) – Recent wins over Sarcoxie (20-5-3 overall) and Liberal have the Cardinals nearing the 20-win plateau. Similar to what I mentioned with Wheaton last week, this is Miller’s winningest season in a while. The Cardinals haven’t finished with a winning record since the 2009. They had 16 combined wins over a three-year stretch between 2012-2013-2014. Miller was district champ and reached the state quarterfinals last year, but finished with a final record of 14-15-3. The win over Sarcoxie is arguably Miller’s most impressive win to date. The two teams split in pool play at the Verona Invitational in late August. In the Sept. 22 rematch – a 24-26, 25-20, 25-10 win for the Cardinals – Dayln Hadlock had 27 assists, Lynna Hadlock 17 digs and Caitlyn Nunez and Tori Collins combined for 21 kills. Only Golden City (Sept. 29) and Pierce City (Oct. 12) stand in the way of the Cardinals earning an undefeated SRVC championship.

Upcoming games: Sept. 29 vs. Golden City, Oct. 4 @ Jasper, Oct. 6 vs. Verona

11. Nixa (13-8, C4, PR: 9) – Another tough stretch of games over the weekend at the Blue Springs South Invitational saw the Eagles finish 1-3, with a lone win against Incarnate Word Academy in three sets. Nixa was able to push host Blue Springs South (22-3-1 overall) in a losing effort, while dropping additional matches to St. Thomas Aquinas (Kan.) and Cor Jesu Academy. Around the BSS Tournament, Nixa collected two-set wins over Republic (Sept. 22) and Neosho (Sept. 27). Junior libero Madison Grantham continues to pace Nixa’s back-row defense with a team-high 270 digs (6.0 per set).

Upcoming games: Sept. 29 vs. Webb City, Oct. 4 @ Carthage, Oct. 6 @ Ozark, Oct. 8 Ozark Grand Slam

12. Willard (18-3-2, C4, PR: 13) – Willard’s strength of schedule isn’t at the level of a Ozark, Kickapoo or Nixa, but the Silver and Black Tigers did collect a quality two-set win at home over Carthage last night. Add in a Sept. 22 road win at Webb City and is two wins shy of once again reaching the 20-win mark, something that’s become an annual tradition under coach Jamalee Hancock.

Upcoming games: Sept. 29 @ Ozark, Oct. 1 Licking Classic (Tournament), Oct. 4 vs. Carl Junction, Oct. 6 @ Branson

13. Clever (13-4-2, C2, PR: 15) – The Blue Jays seem to be finding their grove following an up-and-down stretch in the early part of the season. Clever picked up its fifth straight victory by defeating Ash Grove on the road last night, behind 18 combined kills from Harper Little and Emily Mendenhall. Three of Clever’s four losses have come against Class 4 schools, including two to Hillcrest.

Upcoming games: Sept. 29 vs. Hollister, Oct. 1 @ Mt. Vernon Tournament, Oct. 3 @ Aurora, Oct. 4 vs. Crane

14. Carthage (18-4, C4, PR: 10) – The Tigers have come back to earth a bit since winning the Pittsburg (Kan.) Invitational on Sept. 17. Since then, Carthage has a 2-0 win over McDonald County, a 2-1 at home over Branson and a 2-0 loss (25-19, 25-20) at Willard. The schedule doesn’t ease up though with a tournament and three tough conference games ahead.

Upcoming games: Sept. 29 @ Carl Junction, Oct. 1 @ Neosho Tournament, Oct. 4 vs. Nixa Oct. 6 @ Republic

15. Carl Junction (13-8, C4, PR: 14) – You better have a Missouri license plate on your bus, or else the Bulldogs probably don't want to see you. CJ now has six losses to non-Missouri teams this season, after going 4-1 at its own tournament with a loss to Rogers (Ark.) in the semifinals last weekend. CJ defeated Rogers in three sets earlier in the day. Helias Catholic would defeat Rogers in the tournament finals. For CJ, junior Lexie Miller (41 kills) and sophomore Grace Southern (32 kills) led the CJ attack over the five matches. Olivia Lewis had 21 blocks and Sylvia Lawson issued 91 assists. Lewis and Miller were named to the all-tournament team.

Upcoming games: Sept. 29 @ Carthage, Oct. 3 vs. Bentonville (Ark.), Oct. 4 @ Willard

Knocking on the door: Hillcrest (14-2-1, C4), Aurora (13-9, C3), Sarcoxie (20-5-3, C2), Marionville (13-5-1, C2), Pierce City (13-10, C1)