PARK HILLS – The Mineral Area College Lady Cardinals continued their undefeated opening run with a 25-19, 25-10, 25-15 win over the Missouri Baptist Spartans J.V.’s in their home opener on Tuesday.
Powered by kills from Makayla Campbell and Immerah Bethume, the Lady Cardinals jumped out to the early lead in game one in what appeared to be a runaway, putting together 9-1 run to take a 14-5 lead.
The Spartans responded after a time-out to score nine straight, and despite Coach Tim Copeland calling time to get the Lady Cardinals refocused, the Spartans tacked on two more to take their first lead at 16-14.
“We had ups and downs. We played solid in good spurts and then we had some little lulls, where they came back at us, like that run in the first set,” stated Coach Copeland after the match, “but they have a pretty scrappy defense and a good libero. We have seven freshmen and its one of those deals where we are learning to play a little bit together, and how to win and how to push each other. It’s a growing point for us.”
A power kill by Mackenzie Wipfler stopped the Spartans’ run, and she added a second to revitalize the Lady Cardinals attack. Jessica Lindsey’s kill sent the Spartans into another time-out only to return for her to hit one more to make the score 23-18.
Mariah Kochell stuffed a Spartan spike to make it game-point which Lindsey emphatically put down for her fifth kill of the game. Lindsey led the Lady Cardinals in kills with 13 in the match.
The Lady Cardinals kept the momentum going in the second game as they jumped out to a 9-3 lead on kills by Wipfler. Wipfler finished the match with five kills.
After a Spartan time-out, the visitors tried a backcourt spike only to have Taylor Covington smother it at center net with a block to the immediate floor to make the score 12-4. Lindsey hit all hardwood with her next spike, and she powered one off of a defender to make the score 16-4. Covington served four straight before rotating to the front line where she hammered down the final point of the game.
After a 4-4 start of game three, the Lady Cardinals found a solid offensive spurt as Covington served seven straight points, starting with an ace.
The Lady Cardinals rolled out to an 18-8 lead on the serve of libero Makayla Campbell. Campbell led the team in digs with 13, Lindsey had 11, and Alexandria Spears had 10.
Setters Shyann Jines and Breanna Sitzes kept the MAC hitters well supplied with Jines making 16 assists and Sitzes making 14.
Caroline Clifford and Covington ruled the final points of the match with Clifford making two kills and Covington three along with an ace serve by Spears.
Mineral Area (4-0) will play next in the Lincoln Land Tournament in Springfield, Ill. this weekend.