Springfield, Mo. (OzarksSportsZone.com) -- The top of the rankings remained steady this week as Ozark, Kickapoo and Fair Grove held onto their spots in the top three. Republic and Strafford went from unranked to into the rankings this week.
1. (1) Ozark (7-2)
The Tigers topped #2 Kickapoo and #7 Carl Junction to validate themselves as the area’s top team. Ozark will host Helias Catholic out of Jefferson City, before welcoming Branson and Carthage to open conference play.
2. (2) Kickapoo (8-3)
Kickapoo has had a gauntlet of a schedule over the last week. The Chiefs took third place in the Springfield Classic after losing to nationally ranked Lafayette, the defending Class 4 state champions. This weekend, Coach Downs’ squad will participate in the Blue Springs South Tournament.
3. (3) Fair Grove (12-3)
The Eagles continue to impress so far in 2012. Fair Grove defeated Ash Grove for last weekend’s Ash Grove Tournament Championship, as well as beating Miller and Catholic during the week. Fair Grove opens up Mid-Lakes conference play this week against Skyline.
4. (5) Carthage (8-2-2)
Carthage picked up another marquee win last week, defeating Nixa in the Springfield Classic. However, the Tigers will be put through the meat grinder this week as they host Republic, before traveling to Ozark.
5. (6) Carl Junction (8-4-2)
The Bulldog’s had a 1-1 week, beating Nevada before falling to Ozark in two sets by a combined five points. Carl Junction hosts its tournament this week before opening Big 8 play Tuesday at home against Seneca.
6. (7) Billings (9-2-1)
Billings beat Wheaton Monday, before falling in three sets to Sparta on Thursday. The Class 1 Wildcats bounced back this weekend by winning the Everton Tournament.. Video of Billings' win over Wheaton can be found here:
7. (NR) Republic (9-4)
The Tigers are this week’s biggest movers for good reason. Republic has won six of their last eight matches since losing at Kickapoo on 9/11. The two losses came against defending state champion Lafayette (Wildwood). Republic takes on Carthage Tuesday in both team’s COC-Large opener.
8. (3) Nixa (7-2-1)
Like Kickapoo, Nixa also had an exhausting week that isn’t quite over. The Eagles dropped matches to Republic and Carthage in last weekend’s Springfield Classic. After playing this weekend in the Blue Springs South Tournament, the Eagles open up conference play next week with Webb City and Willard.
9. (8) Buffalo (16-3)
The Bison are looking like a legitimate contender for the COC-Small title. Buffalo is idle this weekend, but next week’s games at Rogersville and Reeds Spring respectively, will provide some clarity in the conference race.
10. (NR) Strafford (17-3)
After taking third place in the Cabool Tournament, the Lady Indians have reeled off seven straight wins, including an emotional three set thriller last night over Ash Grove in the championship game of the Strafford Volleyfest. These two teams meet Tuesday with the winner taking the inside track for the Mid-Lakes Conference title.
CLICK HERE FOR A STORY AND PHOTOS FROM STRAFFORD'S WIN ON SATURDAY
Knockin’ in the door: Ash Grove 12-2, El Dorado Springs (16-2-2), Willard (11-2), Rogersville (10-4-1), Clever (9-7), Forsyth (11-3-1), Sparta (7-2)