PITTSBURG, Kan. -- Pittsburg grabbed the lead to itself in the Southeast Kansas League volleyball race with a sweep here Thursday night.
Fort Scott fell a match behind and into a tie for second with Chanute when the Tigers fell in the final match of the night, 25-23, 26-24. Earlier, the Tigers beat Columbus, 25-9, 25-10, and Pittsburg swept the Titans, 25-12, 25-9.
Against Columbus (1-5, 4-19), the Tigers got 10 kills and 4 aces from Mallory Shelton and 10 assists and a pair of aces from Kenzie Heatherly.
"We started a little slow but once we got on a roll they couldn't stop us," Fort Scott head coach Carol Bingesser said.
Fort Scott (5-1, 14-14) jumped out to a 6-1 lead in the first game of the Pittsburg match. The Purple Dragons (6-0, 18-6) didn't hold the lead for the first time until a let serve fell on the Tigers' side to put them up 24-23.
Fort Scott led in the second game as well but Pittsburg managed to forge a 24-24 tie. A Fort Scott error and a Lizzy Willis kill gave the defending SEK champs their 16th consecutive victory in SEK play.
It was the third time this season Pittsburg defeated Fort Scott in as many meetings. Although beating the Dragons and taking the lead in the SEK themselves would have been better, Bingesser had only positive reviews of the Tigers' play.
"Against Pitt, we came out fired up and ready to play," she said. "Paige Denton passed the ball extremely well, which had been one of downfalls when we had played them earlier in the season. Once the passes started coming, we were able to take some really nice swings at the ball. Maddi Allen and Taylor Grant served the ball very well in the second game, both girls giving us big momentum bursts. Mallory hit the ball extremely well because the passing was there"
Shelton had 10 kills and served 2 aces for the Tigers. Allen served 3 aces. Heatherly handed out 10 assists.
Although Pittsburg leads the SEK, Fort Scott and Chanute (5-1, 25-2) are tied for second while Parsons (4-2, 19-10) and Labette County (4-2) are tied for fourth, both with chances to share the league title if things fall the right way next Thursday.
Fort Scott hosts Chanute and Iola while Parsons welcomes Pittsburg and Labette County. The Tigers can tie for the SEK title if they sweep and Pittsburg splits. If the Tigers sweep and Pittsburg gets swept, Fort Scott will win the SEK by itself.