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Comets drop home opener, 3-1

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Eric Wade/Daily Mail Cottey's Cassie Hale spikes the ball back into the Ozark Christian College defense during Tuesday's home opener at Hinkhouse Center.
By Eric Wade

Nevada Daily Mail

"We do have more talent than the last two years." Cottey College Comets head volleyball coach Marla Kannady Foreman knows from an intellectual standpoint what she has in her squad this year, but that added talent was nowhere to be found on the court at Hinkhouse Center against the Ambassadors of Ozark Christian College Tuesday night.

Just four days removed from what Foreman called a "solid first night" in a triangular match against Wentworth Military Academy and Stephens College, the Comets made their home debut in far less than impressive fashion with a 3-1 loss to Ozark Christian.

In Friday's triangular, the Comets took a five-set victory over Wentworth by the final scores of 25-22, 25-10, 25-15,25-15 and 15-11, winning the second, fourth and fifth sets before falling to Stephens in three, by the final scores of 32-30, 27, 25 and 25-21. The Comets didn't have nearly as much success Tuesday as they dominated the first set, 25-12, before losing the next three by the final scores of 25-8, 25-21 and 25-18.

In Friday's action, Alexis Self led the Comets with four aces, Erica Phillips posted 17 kills, Skyler Ford recorded 10 blocks and Kymee Bair had 42 digs.

"On Friday, when we played at Lexington, we kept running into each other and tonight, we respected each other's space a little better, but our defense was lacking at times," Foreman said.

Things started out well for the Comets as they opened the match on a 7-0 run and never looked back on their way to a dominant first-set victory. Things went downhill quickly from there, however, and the Ambassadors came out of the first side change and rode a pair of 6-0 runs on their way to evening the match at one set apiece.

"I have a pet peeve about game two and that is I don't care what we do in game one and I don't care what happened in game one. ... It doesn't matter what happened in game one, you go to game two just as determined," Foreman said. "It shouldn't matter what happened in game one. What matters is you continue determined in game two and we just didn't."

It wasn't all Cottey miscues that led to the Ambassadors' second-set dominance, however. It almost seemed as though when the two squads made the first side change, the ability of both squads to play the game changed as well.

"I'll give Ozark credit," Foreman said. "They went from not passing the ball to incredibly scrappy defense. It's absolutely incredible."

The Comets never really were able to recover from Ozark's dramatic increase in intensity and went on to lose the next two sets as well, ultimately dropping the match three sets to one. Hannah Wilson led the Comets offensively on the night as she recorded nine kills, while Self had 10 digs and Ford recorded six blocks. Self and Morgan Wheatley combined for the best serving performance of the night for Cottey as they recorded five aces between them.

With that loss, the Comets fell to 1-2 on the year and are set to face Northeast Oklahoma in another road match on Wednesday, Sept. 12.

"I've got three sophomores, so the rest are, obviously, freshman, so they've got to realize, they've got to come in not factoring in their mind that they're fresh people. They are graduated seniors, ready to go," Foreman said. "And I think if I can get those freshman to understand they're graduated seniors, ready to go, versus, 'Oh, I'm a freshman,' kind of mentality, we will come together."

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