Republic, MO (For OzarksSportsZone.com) -- Republic coach Piper Wright was expecting the intensity level of her Lady Tigers to be turned up a notch following their loss to Glendale on Tuesday. That is exactly what she got as Republic jumped out to a big lead in the first set on their way to a convincing 25-13, 25-19 victory over Mountain Grove.
“We kind of had a fire going in and came out with a lot of confidence and intensity,” said Wright. “We got the momentum early which is huge.“
Republic was on their game early on, pushing the lead in the first set to 15-5 before Mountain Grove seemed to find their stride. The Lady Panthers offense took back the momentum, scoring seven of the next ten points to pull within six, 18-12.
That would be the closest they would get as the Lady Tigers, led by Lexi Birlew’s four kills and a defense that seemingly allowed nothing to hit the floor, scored six straight on their way to a 25-13 win in the first set.
Mountain Grove would keep the second set interesting, especially early on. The Lady Panthers' Maddie Halford, who led all players in kills with eight, would get two kills in a row. That would put Mountain Grove only one point down and seemed to swing the momentum back to the side of the Lady Panthers.
Republic would answer with defense as the Lady Tigers began continuously picking up blocks.
“We had really struggled with our blocking,“ said Wright. “We came out yesterday and worked really hard on that, which definitely showed tonight.“
Led by Sarah Kreul’s consistent assists and Brandy Glessner’s five kills, Republic would allow Mountain Grove to get no closer than four points, on their way to a 25-19 final set victory.
“I felt we played better tonight than our first two games,” said Mountain Grove coach Amy McNew. “We need to work on our serving. We put a lot of them in the net and gave away some easy points, especially in that first set.”
With the victory, Republic moves to 2-1 on the season and will travel to Aurora on Monday, September 10. Mountain Grove falls to 1-2 and will compete in the West Plains tournament on Saturday, September 8.
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