The No. 6-ranked Cowley College volleyball team defeated No. 7-ranked Johnson County 25-20, 23-25, 25-21, 25-13 in a battle of top 10 teams Wednesday on Sophomore night at W.S. Scott Auditorium.
The victory in their final regular-season conference match assured the Lady Tigers (31-4, 7-3 Jayhawk East) of a third-place tie with Highland (28-8, 7-3) in the Jayhawk East. Cowley finished behind second-place Fort Scott (28-4, 9-1) and conference champion Coffeyville (37-2, 10-0).
“We wanted to end on a good note in the final home game for the sophomores,” Cowley coach Steven Gream said. “Every player contributed to the win and for them to do that against a quality opponent like Johnson County speaks volumes as to what kind of players they are.”
The Lady Tigers led just 15-14 in the opening set before scoring three straight points to gain some separation. However, the Lady Cavaliers (24-9, 6-4) answered in the second set, scoring nine of the first 11 points before holding on.
Set three was back and forth with the score tied 7-7. Cowley was clinging to a 16-14 lead midway through the pivotal set. The Lady Tigers scored five of the next six points to pull away.
Cowley put it all together in the fourth set, scoring 10 of the first 13 points.
“We started executing our serve and had a balanced attack which helped get the crowd back into it,” Gream said.
Playing in her final home match, Cowley sophomore Elina Zlateva came up big with a team-high 25 kills.
Fellow sophomores Kadie Smith and Stephanie Bray added 11 and nine kills, respectively. Sophomore setter Caroline Foster dished out 44 assists and sophomore libero Alejandra Delgado finished with a team-high 23 digs.
Hannah Vanriette (six kills), Maddy McKay (three aces) and redshirt sophomore Kate Pani rounded out sophomores taking part in their final home match.
Vanriette recorded her 500th career kill in the win.
“Five hundred career kills is not easy for a middle hitter to get,” Gream said. “She has been a quality middle hitter for us and it was great for her to be able to accomplish this feat on Sophomore Night.”
The Lady Tigers play their final regular-season match at 6:30 p.m. today at Butler (17-11, 8-8 Jayhawk West).
“Butler is a quality team that will push us to get ready for our district tournament,” Gream said.