Decatur, Gentry compete in Washburn tournament
WASHBURN (Mo.) — Where would you have to travel to see two conference rivals playing in the same gym, on the same court, at the same time, with neither team serving a single volleyball to the other? The answer, Washburn, Mo.
Both the Decatur Lady Bulldogs and the Gentry Lady Pioneers traveled to the Southwest High School Invitational Volleyball Tournament in Washburn on Sept. 23. The tournament had two brackets, one for larger schools like Gentry, and the other for smaller schools like Decatur.
The Lady Bulldogs competed in bracket two of the tournament, facing three Missouri teams — including the Southwest Trojans, Wheaton Bulldogs and Cassville Wildcats — and one Arkansas opponent, the Berryville Bobcats. In bracket one, the Lady Pioneers faced the Crane Pirates, Diamond Wildcats and Verona Wildcats of Missouri, and a conference rival, Huntsville.
The Lady Bulldogs were defeated by each team they played. But in the third match with Wheaton, Decatur took an early lead in the second set. A timeout and lineup changes by Wheaton stopped Decatur. The Lady Bulldogs fell, 2-0.
Decatur carried the momentum from the Wheaton contest to its final opponent of the day, the Cassville Wildcats. The Lady Bulldogs jumped out to an eight-point lead on a series of serves by Mailee Xiong. The Lady Wildcat coach was blindsided by the Decatur run, forcing her to use one of her timeouts. After a timeout, the momentum shifted in Cassville’s favor and the Cassville girls eventually overtook the Lady Bulldogs’ lead and went on to win the set and the match. Decatur, with an 0-8 record, was eliminated from its bracket.
The Lady Pioneers fared much better in their bracket, with a 2-6 record, enough to get them a berth in the elimination bracket. Gentry was able to win two more matches before being eliminated in the third match.
For the Decatur Lady Bulldogs and the Gentry Lady Pioneers, the experiences of playing different teams in a different setting proved to be a valuable tool. It allowed both teams to study different game plans and to formulate defensive and offensive strategies, giving each the ability to adjust and grow.
■ Diamond, Mo. - Gentry, 25-10 and 25-21
■ Verona, Mo. - Gentry, 25-27 and 15-25
■ Huntsville - Gentry, 2513 and 25-17
■ Crane, Mo. - Gentry, 2510 and 25-13
■ Berryville - Decatur, 25-6 and 25-16
■ Southwest, Mo. - Decatur, 25-16 and 25-13
■ Wheaton, Mo. - Decatur, 25-15 and 25-19
■ Cassville, Mo. - Decatur, 25-14 and 25-13