Carthage kept its home record perfect, but it wasn’t easy. Republic pushed Carthage to the brink in a match that could have gone either way, losing on the road 25 ‑ 20, 24 ‑ 26, 25 ‑ 19, 22 ‑ 25, 12 ‑ 15.
Republic won the first set and came from behind in the second to tie the score 23-23. But Carthage benefited from two close calls to win the next two points – one on a Carthage attack that Republic supporters believed hit the out-of-bounds antenna, and another on a Carthage tip that dropped near the sideline and was called in. That gave Carthage a 25-23 advantage and evened the score.
Republic rebounded to win the third set and took an early lead in the fourth, but Carthage clawed back to force a decisive fifth, eventually winning it 15-12.
“It’s tough because the girls played their guts out tonight,” said coach Allison Davis. “Carthage (is) a great team. I’m super proud of my kids. I wish we would have got that one just because of how hard they worked.”
Rilynn Finley and Kaemyn Bekemeier each had 12 kills for Republic, and Finley put up four blocks. Senior Mykenzie Hicks led the defense with 12 digs. Payge Plank had another 50 assists, and she added three service aces.
Republic falls to 11-5 overall, and 2-2 in the COC. The Lady Tigers will compete in the Mt. Vernon tournament this weekend before returning to conference play next week, and Davis feels good about the way her team is playing.
“We’ve got three games next week that are pretty big, and I feel like we’re ready,” Davis said. “I think people should be nervous, because this team is ready to roll.”