FORT SCOTT -- Fort Scott Community College and Cottey College faced each other at Arnold Arena Friday night in the final match of the regular season for both schools. The Greyhounds swept the visiting Comets, 25-16, 25-21, 25-17.
For Fort Scott, it was the final home match for four sophomores who made history at the college. They've won 48 matches over their two seasons and are part of the first teams to win 20 matches in consecutive years in Greyhound history.
After the match, FSCC head coach Lindsay Hill told the crowd about her sophomores -- Ashley Bell, Katie Smith, Taylyn Schwartz and Ali Cure.
"Each of these sophomores have done something great as individuals and as a group," Hill told the crowd. "They knew we were coming off a 5-28 season. A lot of other good players said 'no' to us."
Smith will finish her FSCC career as its all-time leader in digs with more than 1,000. Bell will finished third all-time in kills. Cure had the fourth-most kills in a single season at the college. And Schwartz is now second in the nation in assists per set. The four also have a cumulative grade-point average of 3.7.
The Greyhounds will be in the playoffs for the first time in five years. They qualified for the four-team Region VI Division II District N Tournament, which will be hosted by top seed Coffeyville next Saturday.
Cottey finished the regular season at 9-10. The Comets' Regional tournament is also next weekend.
Though the Comets had played only a little more than half as many matches this season as Fort Scott has, Cottey showed toughness at times. The 'Hounds tried to break open a close first set, going up 16-9. But three kills by Kasey Hall and an ace serve by Morgan Wheatley helped bring the Comets back within 17-15.
A kill by Dani Rubow started an 8-1 run that wrapped up the first set. But Cottey kept fighting and led 9-7 early in the second set. Fort Scott scored 10 of the next 11, going up 17-10 on an ace by Cure.
Cottey managed to chip away at the lead, getting within 23-20 when Erica Phillips blocked away Bell's spike and it landed on the Fort Scott side. Cure made a kill for the 'Hounds, but Phillips came up with another block for the Comets to keep them within three points. But Jacy Ermel, a Uniontown High School graduate, got the kill that won the set for Fort Scott.
The Greyhounds rolled out to an 8-2 lead in the third set with strong play at the net. Cottey tried to inch back but only had a couple of stretches in the set where it could get three points in a row.
The Comets got within 18-14 but the Greyhounds began to rack up the kills again and went on to win the set and wrap up the match.
Bell led the 'Hounds with 16 kills while Haylee Toothman had 11 and Cure finished with nine. Philips led Cottey with seven kills and Skyler Ford had six.
Schwartz handed out 44 assists for Fort Scott. Alexis Self led Cottey with nine assists. Phillips had three blocks for the Comets.