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The Lady Tigers celebrate match point in their win over Joplin.

“Killer Instinct:” Lady Tigers Close Strong in District Opener

First-year Republic volleyball coach Allison Davis had a hard time summing up her excitement after her team’s decisive district tournament win over fourth-seeded Joplin Monday. The Lady Tigers, seeded fifth, fought through a close first set, then played some of their best volleyball of the year in the second set to win their district opener 25-21, 25-11.

“I’m kind of at a loss for words right now because I’m so proud of them,” Davis said. “That first set, I think we were just trying to figure out what we’re doing tonight. We’ve been watching film, breaking it down as coaches and players, and we knew, because we’ve played them a couple of different times, what to expect. We were just feeling it out at first. Then I felt like at the end of that first set, we got our confidence (and) we just started rolling. People started stepping up, then going into that second set … they had that killer instinct. Everybody had that confidence and they did their individual jobs on the court.”

Freshman Kaemyn Bekemeier had ten kills to power the Lady Tigers’ offense. Senior Rylee Moseman had two service aces to go along with her team-high 14 assists. Defensively, senior Emma Pearce contributed 13 digs and freshman Kailey Manes had two blocks to lead the team.

After the match, Davis told her players they’d played like “the team I knew we had all along, and I was just so stinking proud of them, and they deserve this. That was a great team win tonight and I was proud of each and every one of them.”

Republic and Joplin were tied at 21 apiece in the first set before Republic won four straight points to take command. Those four points were a big lift, according to Moseman.

“It really hyped me up because I knew we could finish,” she said. “It gave us a lot of momentum throughout the whole other set.”

Republic carried that momentum into the second set by winning the first six points. They built a 14-4 lead to take control and cruised the rest of the way.

The win improved Republic’s season record to 12-14-3. Their twelve wins is twice last season’s total.

After a rough junior season, Moseman admits the dramatic win increase is a pleasant surprise. “We’re shocked, but we obviously put a lot of effort into practice and I think that helped us,” she said. “It’s really exciting, because we’re not used to that and our record was way down, and we’re on fire now.”

Republic advances to play top-seeded Webb City Tuesday.


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