Strafford back to state tournament with district sweep

 

By John Miller (For OzarksSportsZone.com)

The Strafford Lady Indians took care of business.

Top-seed Strafford wasted no time on Tuesday night, downing Ash Grove in straight sets 25-10, 25-10 to claim the Class 2 District 12 crown at Strafford High School.

Strafford will meet Mountain View-Liberty on Saturday in the Class 2 sectionals.

“It’s amazing,” said senior outside hitter Rilie Vote of the team’s district championship. “We’re really excited for sectionals.”

CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS OF THE MATCH

Chloe Rear had 13 kills, Gracie Morton had 15 sets, and Jessica Allen and Vote added four aces for Strafford. Catie Martin had four kills, Tori Tummons had 10 assists, and Canyon Gouty had eight digs for Ash Grove.

Strafford shut out Skyline in the districts semifinals earlier on Tuesday, 25-16, 25-18. Ash Grove snuck past Fair Grove 25-22, 16-25, 25-18, a huge win for the Lady Pirates.

“We had seen Fair Grove twice and hadn’t beaten them,” Ash Grove coach Stephanie Curbow said. “We said, ‘This is our game. This is our time.’ We watched video. We were so excited. The girls were so proud to beat Fair Grove.”

Curbow hoped her team would be able to ride the momentum from its win over Fair Grove into the finals against Strafford. Unfortunately, the momentum didn’t last long. Ash Grove scored the first two points of the championship match. Strafford scored eight of the next nine and never trailed again.

“They had a lot of momentum coming from beating Fair Grove,” Vote said. “We knew they were a scrappy team. They have great blockers. Those two points, we knew we had to get it going.”

“We’ve been preaching the entire year that it’s never enough,” Strafford coach Ashley Bough said. “You have to jump ahead and even when you do get down, you have to play one point at a time. The game’s not over until you get to 25.”

Strafford took the first set easily (25-10), and scored the first five points of the second set, putting Ash Grove in a hole they never could climb out of.

“I just told the girls to play their best,” Curbow said. “We had worked a lot on blocking, but they were hitting through our block. I told the girls in the back to keep moving and try new things because if we stayed in the same spot, it’s not going to work for us. We were trying to move and do lots of new things on the back row on defense. “

Even in the loss in the championship, the Lady Pirates were pleased they had advanced that far.

“Our girls were happy when they were done,” Curbow said. “There really were no tears. We were so excited about that Fair Grove win.”

Strafford 2, Ash Grove 0

Strafford 25 25
Ash Grove 10 10

Strafford
Aces: Allen 4, Vote 4, Rear 1, Schoen 1
Kills: Rear 13, Vote 8, Webb 2, Morton 2, Allen 2
Assists: Morton 15, Rear 5, Webb 1
Digs: Nichols 7, Vote 6, Schoen 6, Allen 4, Rear 3, Morton 2, McMillen 2, Soden 1, Webb 1

Ash Grove
Aces: 0
Kills: Martin 4, Duncan 3, Cashio 3, Tummons 2, Pennington 1, Gouty 1
Assists: Tummons 10, Holcombe 1
Digs: Gouty 8, Duncan 7, McThompson 5, Tummons 4, Martin 1, Cashio 1