(Kenny Felt/Special to the Tribune)
The Greyhounds held a 2-0 lead, winning the first two sets 25-16 and 25-14. Clarendon tied the match with 25-18 and 25-20 wins in the third and fourth sets and also held 6-3 and 10-9 leads before dropping the fifth set, 15-11.
The tournament -- which also includes Labette, Independence, Southeast Nebraska and Cedar Valley, Texas -- resumes this morning and concludes Saturday night. Fort Scott faces Labette today at 1 p.m. and Cedar Valley tonight at 7. They will play Southeast Nebraska at 4 p.m. Saturday afternoon.
"We have some tougher competition here this year for the tournament, which is good," Fort Scott second-year head coach Lindsay Hill says, "I think we have a really good shot at doing well. It's just a matter of which team shows up -- the first two-set team or the second two-set team. And I think the girls learned a big lesson tonight, so I hope the first two-set team shows up."
The Greyhounds, 25-10 a season ago, held a 16-6 lead in the first set before Clarendon managed to score while holding serve. The Bulldogs got within 16-11, but gave up service on a bad serve. They got within only 8 points again and an error off a tip by Fort Scott sophomore Taylyn Schwartz of Eureka wrapped up that set.
Fort Scott scored the first 5 points of the second set but Clarendon rallied to within 6-5. The 'Hounds extended the lead to 20-11 on an ace by Fort Worth, Texas, freshman Shelby Boxberger and clinched the set when Cure took a Schwartz set down the right sideline.
The Bulldogs scored the first 3 points of the third set but the 'Hounds tied it behind consecutive Cure aces. But Clarendon sophomores Katie Gilmore and Shanice Lucas began to take control as the Bulldogs regained, then extended the lead. Fort Scott got back within 2 points twice, the second time at 14-12. But Clarendon's attack and Fort Scott errors gave the 'Dogs the advantage and freshman libero Barbara Soranzo clinched that game when her set-point serve glanced off the top of the net and fell just on the Fort Scott side of the net.
Fort Scott held a 4-1 lead in the fourth set and led 8-6 before Clarendon scored 8 of the next 9. The Bulldogs didn't trail in that set again.
Clarendon jumped out to a 6-3 lead in the final set. But the Bulldogs began to make errors that put Fort Scott ahead 7-6. An ace that glanced off the net Shawnee freshman Haylee Toothman made it 8-6 as play stopped so that the teams could switch sides.
Clarendon went back in front, 10-9, when Lauren Fowler scored a kill. But then Cure scored the first of her kills to the the score and give serve back to the 'Hounds. Another Cure kill put them ahead and a tip by Uniontown freshman Jacy Ermel made it a 2-point match.
Sophomore Ashley Bell's kill made it 13-10. Gilmore's kill gave serve back to Clarendon, which promptly lost it on another Cure kill. Toothman gave the 'Hounds the match on cross-court spike.
"The first two games, we played like I thought we could play," Hill said. "The second two games, we played down to their level. We played scared; we played timid. I talked to them about that. You have to play to win, not play to not lose."
Bell, from Moreno Valley, Calif., and Cure each logged 14 kills while Toothman finished with 9 and Chanute freshman Dani Rubow had 7 kills and 4 blocks. Bell picked up 7 blocks and Schwartz handed out 39 assists.
Six matches are on tap today, including the two Fort Scott duals. Five will be held Saturday, concluding with a 6 p.m match between Independence and Labette.