Cottey Comets drop two at home

Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Cottey freshman Taylor Means returns a serve during the Comets' game Saturday afternoon against Stephens College. --Ralph Pokorny/Daily Mail

NEVADA, Mo. -- The Cottey College Comets volleyball team suffered their fourth and fifth losses at home this season in front of a near-capacity crowd at Hinkhouse Gymnasium Friday and Saturday.

Despite the worst season head coach Marla Kannady Foreman said she has ever had coaching at Cottey, school spirit and team support were not in short supply as the Comets took on Ozark Christian and Stephens College during Family Weekend.

"I can't even begin to say how wonderful the team spirit was in that Hinkhouse gym, especially Saturday," Foreman said.

The Comets struggled on Friday as Ozark Christian College put on a clinic, completing the three-set sweep as they won 25-13, 25-16 and 25-15. Natalie Larsen led the Comets with 11 assists while Taylor Means and Amanda Taylor led with four kills each.

Taylor also had a team-high three blocks, while Means added 15 digs.

On Saturday, the Comets showed a fairly strong performance in defeat against Stephens. The match got off to a rough start for Cottey as they stayed with the Stars early in the set, only to fall into a quick 16-4 hole. The Comets were unable to recover from that point on, maintaining that eight-point deficit to eventually fall by a final score of 25-13.

"I thought we were going to start out the same way we did with Ozark the night before and we did," Foreman said. "Our scores even matched each other for the first game in each match. I called a timeout at 10-4 and told my team that we were better than four points against any team on our schedule and we needed to go out and make something happen."

The Comets did a better job in set two of making things happen and staying in the contest, holding just a one-point deficit at 15-14. Several unforced errors and bad passing began to take over from that point on, however, and Stephens finished the set on a 10-4 run to take a 25-18 victory.

At that point in the match, it looked as though Stephens would complete the sweep in rather dominant fashion until the Comets came to life in the third set. The Comets made a game of it throughout the entire set, forcing an up-and-down battle that featured long rallies and several lead changes.

The Comets even held a six-point lead late in the match at 23-17 and Stephens attempted to make a comeback, but was never really able to recover as the Comets took a 25-21 victory.

"My players sensed the fact that their fans would get extremely excited whenever the Comets team would make a point, regardless of the score. In game one and two, we got down by a few points and you wouldn't know we were losing by the fans and the cheering," Foreman said.

"Thanks to this motivation to give the fans something to watch and the fact that my team doesn't give up for anything, we got the win for game three. My players had it in their head after game two that they were going to take it in five."

The Stars had other ideas, however, as they wasted little time in getting their rhythm back in the fourth and final set of the day. As they had throughout the match, the Comets stayed in the finale early -- even leading 9-5 -- but eventually fell into another deep hole.

After the Stars worked their way into a 17-4 run to take a 22-13 lead, the Comets were never able to recover and Stephens went on to take the set by a final score of 25-19 and with it, the match.

The Comets came out of the match with a certain level of pride in defeat given the intense fan support that has never waned, despite the team's struggles throughout the year. Foreman told her players to file that loss in "whatever column they wanted to," and that she was going to go home feeling really good about their determination and heart.

"They are like the energizer bunnies -- they take a licking and keep on ticking," Foreman said. "My players could give up at any time because of their record, but they refuse to give in during a match."

With those two losses, the Comets fall to 1-11 on the year and are set to be back in action again tomorrow as they continue their homestand, taking on Longview Community College at 7 p.m., inside Hinkhouse Gymnasium.

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