Springfield, Mo. (OzarksSportsZone.com) -- The OzarksSportsZone team will compile the area's top 10 teams each week of the season. The rankings are based on dominance by class.
1. (1) Winona (7-2) – I’m sure you are probably scratching your head right about now. How can Winona lose twice on the same day and still be the top team? Remember this poll is based on DOMINANCE WITHIN CLASS. So, let’s put these losses in context. It took a Final Four caliber, Class 3 Buffalo squad to hand the Lady Wildcats their first loss since October of 2012. Then, it took a solid Class 4 Willard team every bit of three sets to beat Winona. And, all of this came while junior all-stater Rachel Holthaus nursed a shoulder injury. At the end of the day, the Class 1 Lady Wildcats still offer the Ozarks its best opportunity to win a state title.
2. (3) Carl Junction (5-0) – How about those Lady Bulldogs? CJ added an impressive 3-1 win over Bentonville (Ark.), a Final Four team in 7A, and contender to win it all this year. This weekend in the Springfield Classic we will get a chance to learn just how good the Coach Wall’s team is. In pool play they will have a rematch with Bentonville, as well as taking on Nixa and the defending Class 3 state champ Westminster Christian.
3. (5) Rogersville (10-0-1) – It is difficult not to be extremely impressed by what the Lady ‘Cats have done to start the season. Last week Rogersville claimed the West Plains Tournament title with a three-set win over a solid Helias team. That same Helias team beat Nixa in two last week. Log-Rog added a win over Lebanon on Tuesday night.
4. (2) Ozark (6-2) – It took three weeks, but Ozark finally lost its first game of the season. The only problem is, they lost to back-to-back state champ, and nationally ranked Lafayette, as well as a Bishop Miege team out of Kansas that should be in the hunt for a state title. However, because this poll is based on dominance by class and with Lafayette being in Class 4 with Ozark, I had to move them down. The Lady Tigers are idle until next week when they visit Kickapoo and Carl Junction.
5. (4) Osceola (4-0) – The Lady Indians picked up two more dominating wins this week, beating Lakeland and Rich Hill. Osceola has not dropped a set yet this season. The Lady Indians are good, but they haven’t played any premier teams yet. Come Thursday they will host a bigger Pleasant Hope squad. If they win that game, you can just about bet they will be 8-0 heading into the Strafford Tournament on Sep. 28.
6. (7) Reeds Spring (9-1-1) – The Lady Wolves continue to look good, despite being undersized. Wins over Monett and Aurora have been part of Reeds Spring’s recent three-game win streak. On Thursday Coach L’s squad will host Republic in what will be the toughest game since the Branson Tournament loss to Nixa.
7. (10) Buffalo (9-1) – Since dropping their season-opening match to Willard, the Lady Bison have surrendered just one set, including winning the Willard Tournament last weekend. Although the tournament win was impressive, it was the way that they won that resulted in their rise. Carmen Smith’s squad is deep, balanced, and talented. Buffalo will host Central on Thursday, before hosting their Tournament this weekend.
8. (9) Pierce City (6-1) – Pierce City’s winning ways came to a halt Monday against a bigger Mount Vernon team. No worries, on paper the Class 1 Lady Eagles should lose to the Class 3 Lady ‘Neers. PC bounced back on Tuesday with a straight-set win over East Newton. This weekend they head to Ash Grove for the Lady Pirates’ tournament where they will like have to go through the host Lady Pirates and Fair Grove if they want a tournament title.
9. (8) Nixa (8-2) –The Lady Eagles did suffer a loss last week to Helias, but I’m not going to hold it against them too much. Plus, they bounced back with a two-set win over a talented Parkview squad. I’m excited to see Nixa in action this weekend as they take on Carl Junction, as well as Bentonville and Westminster Christian… and that is just in pool play. Oh, and the Aubrey Cheffey kill count is up to 95.
T10. (NR) Sparta (9-1) – The Lady Trojans are two points away from being undefeated in 2013. A tough three-set loss to rival Spokane has resulted in a six-game win streak, including the Forsyth Tournament championship. Sparta will host Hurley on Thursday with a chance to extend its winning streak to seven.
T10. (6) Glendale (4-2) – I cannot figure out the Lady Falcons this season. Regardless of how inconsistent they play at times, it doesn’t change the fact that their ceiling, if it exists, is really high. This weekend they host a talented field in the Springfield Classic, including two-time defending Class 4 state champ Lafayette. Coach Bates and company will have a chance to win it. It just depends on which Glendale team shows up; the one that pushed Ozark to three sets, or the one that was defeated by Republic, at home, in two.
Knocking on the Door: Crane, Republic, El Dorado Springs, Springfield Catholic, Billings, Ash Grove, Kickapoo, Liberal, Mountain Grove
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