(Kenny Felt/Exclusive to the Tribune)
But Butler showed that a team with its height and power can't be contained indefinitely, going out to 18-6 lead in the fourth set and then on to win the dual, 22-25, 27-25, 25-23, 25-10.
Everything the Grizzlies (5-2 East, 24-3 overall) needed to go right did in the fourth set. The kills found the open spots. The digs went the right way. The sets were spot-on.
The Greyhounds lost their sixth consecutive match, falling to 1-3, 15-8. They would be the seventh seed in the Region VI Tournament. just ahead of Allen and Labette, if it began today. However, if tie-breakers go the wrong way at the end of the season -- each of the three are 1-1 against the other two -- Fort Scott could be on the outside looking in when tournament time comes.
If the 'Hounds can play in their remaining conference matches as they did in the first three sets Wednesday night, they should be able to get in. Two of the bottom three teams in the region, Independence and Labette, remain on the schedule. But there are also matches against No. 1 Cowley, which is undefeated, third-place Coffeyville and Neosho County coming up as well.
The first three sets were back and forth. The score was tied 11 times in the first set, the last at 16-16. The 'Hounds got the lead up to 23-19 on a Butler error. But the Grizzlies got within 2 points twice before Ashley Bell's kill ended the set.
The second set was tied nine times. Despite the fact that Butler held an 18-13 lead, the 'Hounds fought back. Haylee Toothman had a kill followed by a block to tie the score for the eighth time at 24-24. Dani Rubow's block gave Fort Scott the lead.
Butler's Payton White -- one of four Grizzlies 6' 1" or taller -- gave her team the lead with back-to-back kills. A Fort Scott error ended that set.
The third set was tied 13 times, the last when Butler committed an error to give serve back to Fort Scott at 23-23. Hannah Flaming got a kill off a free ball to give Butler the lead and a Fort Scott error ended that set.
The 'Hounds trailed in the fourth set, 5-4, with Toothman's kill giving Fort Scott the serve. But Butler scored the next 4 before an Ali Cure kill got the serve back for the Greyhounds. Shelby Zogl-man's kill gave serve back to Butler at 10-5. The Grizzlies scored 8 of the next 9 points.
In all, it was a 13-3 Butler run that turned the final set from a one-point squeaker to a 12-point margin that affirmed why pollsters like the Grizzlies, the only Western Division team playing at the Division II level (and playing as an East team in volleyball for that reason).
Toothman finished the match with 18 kills. Uniontown High School graduate Jacy Ermel had 12 and Bell had 11.
Taylyn Schwartz, ranked sixth nationally in Division II in aces per set (10.37) had 44 total for the Greyhounds, an average of 11 per set.
Bell had 2 solo blocks and an assist while Rubow had 1 solo and 2 assists.
Toothman had 43 digs for the Greyhounds while Cure had 36 and libero Kate Smith, who is ranked 26th in Division II with 4.73 digs per set, finished the night with 34. Toothman is ranked 35th in digs per set, 4.41. Cure came into the night ranked 46th with 4.11 kills per set.
The Greyhounds go to Trenton, Mo., to play in the East Central Missouri Tournament this weekend.