The El Dorado Springs VolleyDogs had lots on their minds as they traveled to Clever on Oct. 27 for sectional play. With two wins over Clever during the regular season and a memory from 2011 in which Clever dashed ElDo’s hopes of a Final Four run, losing wasn’t an option.
El Dorado got off to a fast start defeating Clever 25-13. During the second set, the VolleyDogs once again came out with force, but several unforced errors gave Clever some hope. Coach Tonya Hooper called a time out and her team responded with a side out to dash Clever’s momentum and finish with a 25-19 win.
“The girls were just pumped,” stated Coach Hooper. “We didn’t play nervous like we had during districts. We came out and played our style of volleyball, swinging hard and playing great defense.”
Alexa Schaaf led the team with eight kills and Kaili Simmons added five. Kinli Simmons had 10 assists and Brooke Stacy had eight. Kaili Simmons had three service aces. Alexa Schaaf had eight digs. Payton Hallford and Megan Chism had three blocks each.
The win advanced El Dorado into the quarterfinals against Mountain Grove.
“We didn’t know what to expect from Mountain Grove other than what we had seen during the first match of sectionals,” said Coach Hooper. “They had two phenomenal hitters that we needed to slow down. Stopping them would have been great, but realistically we knew that was not possible.”
ElDo came out sluggish during the first set falling behind by as many as seven points at the hands of Mountain Grove hitters. But determination kept the VolleyDogs in the game as ElDo hitter’s fought back and key blocks by El Do’s defense limited Panther points. Eventually, Mountain Grove took the first set 25-22. ElDo then took an early lead during the second set, but a string of five straight points sucked the momentum from ElDo’s play. With hopes of a trip to the Final Four creeping away, El Dorado dropped their final set of the season 16-25.
“The girls fought so hard to stay in that match,” shared Coach Hooper. “We have nothing to be ashamed of. We played the best we could and got beat by a great team. A coach can’t ask for anything more.”
Kaili Simmons and Alexa Schaaf combined for 12 kills. Kinli Simmons had 12 assists and two service aces. Alexa Schaaf had seven digs while Kaili Simmons and Brooke Stacy had five each. Payton Hallford and Megan Chism each had four blocks.
The Volleydogs finished their season with a record of 30-4-2.
“What a year,” said Coach Hooper. “Coach Norman and I will have our hands full filling the void left by our seven seniors – Lakyn Coleman, Payton Hallford, Courtney Hooper, Kylie Hughes, Kate Sibley, Kaili Simmons and Brooke Stacy. But the impact they had on the El Dorado volleyball program will not be forgotten.” Coach Hooper also reflected, “this group has experienced the highest of highs and lowest of lows, yet at the end of the day, they remembered what was important in life…family and friends. I cannot tell you how proud I am of them for enduring the personal struggles they have faced on and off the court with such a good attitude. Life lessons are hard to learn sometimes, but they prepare us for the bigger picture of life.”
ON THE ATTACK – Kameron Schaaf hits from the middle as Kinli Simmons and Megan Chism cover the attack.
LADIES IN WAITING – Alexa Schaaf, Kate Sibley and Kaili Simmons prepare to receive serve at sectionals.