Branson, Mo. (For OzarksSportsZone.com) -- The teams were dressed in pink uniforms while the crowd was a sea of pink Tuesday night at Branson High School as Branson and Nixa played in a breast cancer awareness volleyball fundraising game. Together the teams raised close to $2,600.
The Lady Eagles took control of the first set easily and struggled in the second, but were able to defeat Branson 25-18, 25-19.
“With everything going on, we played pretty well. It was a pretty emotional night for everyone,” Nixa coach Greg Walker said. “In set one we stayed more focused and I think we had more errors in set two.”
Nixa took an early 6-1 lead with kills by Hannah Bracker, Aubrey Cheffey and Destini Dulin. Branson battled, but the Lady Eagles were able to get up to a 10-point lead at 15-5.
The Lady Pirates struggled digging Nixa’s hitters and then making a solid bump, set, hit. Branson did gain some points with a kill by Ginny Ward and a big double block by Ward and Rileigh Cline to cut the lead to 23-16.“I have seen the girls play a lot better than they did tonight,” Branson coach Jenny Lotz said. “We just had a very slow start and it is hard to recover from that.”
Nixa received game point off of Bracker’s kill. Another block by Ward gave Branson a chance to serve, but Nixa’s Angie Allen’s kill ended the game at 25-18.
In the second set Branson picked up their play and the lead went back and forth between the teams. After a tied score of 3-3, the Lady Eagles kept the lead a few points ahead of Branson getting help with kills from Dulin, Allen, Emilie Davis and aces from Audrey Engelman and Kaleigh Cole.
Walker said, “Audrey Engelman passed well and my setters ran a pretty good offense tonight.”
The Lady Pirates rallied and tied the score at 11 with a kill by Lauren Boone. Nixa took the lead again, but Branson continued to fight and tied the score at 14.
Lotz said, “An attitude changed in the girls in the second set when they saw that they could actually get some points on the board and start winning. I think they realized ‘we can do this’.”
A kill by Cole and an ace by Engelman broke the tie. Branson would not be able to tie the score again. Boone hit another kill to stop Nixa’s run at 23-18, but a missed serve by the Lady Pirates gave Nixa game point. A kill by Dulin ended the game at 25-19.
Nixa plays their last home game Thursday, Oct. 18 against Rogersville. Branson plays again on Friday, Oct. 19 at Reeds Spring.
Nixa 2, Branson 0
Nixa—Hannah Bracker 5, Emilie Davis 5
Branson—Lauren Boone 5
Nixa—Audrey Engelman 2, Destini Dulin 2, Chloe Lofton 2, Kaleigh Cole 2
Branson—Emily Hoffman 1
Nixa—Hannah Bracker 4
Branson—Ginny Ward 5