Fort Scott Community College's volleyball turned things around between the first and second sets of a non-conference match at Arnold Arena Monday night and defeated Northeastern Oklahoma A&M in four sets, 13-25, 25-16, 25-19, 26-24.
"That was a big win for us, a huge win," Fort Scott head coach Sonya Petroski said. "There's been quite a few teams in our conference who have played NEO but have yet to beat them. We were excited for this match. We wanted to get out after them."
The Golden Norsewomen (4-5) found holes in Fort Scott's defense in the first set as they served 6 aces, three of which came in an opening 5-0 run.
However, the Greyhounds (4-12) went on long runs in the second and third sets to build leads that they never relinquished.
"We've been having a problem lately with getting started," Petroski said. "Saturday, we went up to Ottawa to play Southwestern JV and Ottawa JV and it was kind of the same thing. We started the first set very slow. But once we got the momentum, we got going. It's almost like after that first set, we got it out of our systems and then found a way to light a fire under us and in us and to get going and be determined to win."
An 8-1 run during the second set put Fort Scott up 13-5. The 'Hounds enjoyed an 8-0 run early in the third set go take a 9-2 lead.
NEO scrapped back to get within 24-19 in the third game but Fort Scott sophomore Katie Van Lue, who didn't seem to get many kill opportunities in the first three sets, attacked a Paige Clinton set with great vigor to put that game to an end.
The Norse rolled out to an 8-4 lead in the fourth set as they tried to bring the match even again and force a fifth set. But the Greyhounds rallied with an 8-0 run with another Van Lue kill making it 17-11.
The match went back and forth for a while with ties at 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23 and 24-all.
Kayla Tarwater's kill tied the score at 24. Then NEO made an error off a Van Lue block to give the 'Hounds a 1-point lead.
Tanessa Esry gave a good assist to Van Lue, who tipped it over the net. NEO was ready for the hard kill and the ball dropped to the floor to give Fort Scott the match.
Esry, a freshman from El Dorado Springs, Mo., had 20 assists for the Greyhounds.
"Tanessa's been having a great last couple of weeks," Petroski said. "We've been working a lot on trying to mix up our sets and finding what's comfortable for our setters and our setters are really starting to run the offense. And they've really just started to get comfortable with that. I think Tanessa's finally starting to get comfortable in her position in running the offense."
Esry also wanted to perform well, according to Petroski, because she has a cousin who plays for NEO -- sophomore Brooke Hamilton -- and was playing against her instead of with her for the first time.
Van Lue finished with 11 kills, 6 of which came in the fourth set, and 8 blocks. Tarwater, Jessica Cook and Heather Greer had 6 kills each. Paige Clinton dished 9 assists of her own. Esry served 3 aces.
The Greyhounds step back into Jayhawk Conference-Eastern Division play Wednesday night when they travel to Coffeyville (13-9). Petroski looks for the victory over NEO to give the 'Hounds a boost for Wednesday's match.
"That's going to be a huge match for us," Petroski said. "Coffeyville is one of those teams Fort Scott hasn't beat in a while. And we're really determined to beat them. I think we have the team that can go out and really get after them. We've seen and heard some reports about how they're playing this season and we're kind of prepared for them and we're ready get after them on Wednesday."
NOTES -- Fort Scott lost to the Southwestern JV in five sets Saturday, 13-25, 25-14, 25-22, 24-26, 15-12, and beat the Ottawa JV in three sets, 25-18, 25-20, 25-21)....
Garcia said that many of the Greyhounds who went to Missouri high schools had high school teammates or rivals playing for NEO. Fort Scott has six Missourians on its roster while NEO has four....
NEO's libero, Amanda McDonaly, wears No. 82, likely the highest number that's ever been on a college volleyball court. Most of the time, uniform numbers rarely go above the mid-20's and the highest number available in many places now is 15....
Fort Scott's next home match will be October 6 at 6:30 against Butler....