By Chuck Reherman
It was a slow start, but a fast finish for Southwest Covenant’s volleyball team.
The Lady Patriots dropped the first set, then came back to win three in a row to beat Santa Fe South 3-1 Monday night on Senior Night for SWCS.
The Lady Patriots lost 25-16, but nearly went down 2-0 before coming back to win the second set 26-24.
SWCS rolled to 25-17 and 25-16 wins to close the regular season with a 24-7 record and ranked No. 4 in class 4A.
SWCS hosted a regional tournament late Thursday and the winner advances to the state tournament to be played in Choctaw and Shawnee.
“I think the emotions of Senior Night affected us early, we didn’t start off very well,” SWCS head coach Samantha Lindsey said. “We lost that first set, but then settled down. Santa Fe South was very scrappy, we weren’t make a lot of errors, but they were keeping the ball in play really making us put the ball away.
“We finally adjusted to the play that was coming at us and we were able to close out the next three sets in a row,” she said. “It was a good push and challenge for us going into the regionals.”
The Lady Patriots, down a set, were facing a 2-0 deficit as Santa Fe South was serving for set point. SWCS got the point, then turned to Kindle Chamberlain at the service line.
Chamberlain served the next four points to send the Lady Patriots to the 26-24 win.
“Kindle was huge for us in that stretch,” Lindsey said. “She came up and we were down 24-21 and she served us out. She had one ace out of that run, but they were tough serves and she gave them a lot of trouble.
“We got a lot of free balls and not attacking the net because her serves were really hard and really good,” she said. “It set us some easy plays for us. To come in at 24-21 and serve us out and be able to serve us out was really impressive.”
That win turned the match around. Tied at 1-1, the Lady Patriots took control of the third set and went on to a 25-17 win.
SWCS jumped out early in the fourth set and rolled to a 25-16 win.
“We took care of business better in those last two sets,” Lindsey said. “We started putting it together and wore them down in those sets. Santa Fe South has gotten better every year, this was the best team I have seen them have.
“They were real scrappy, the ball kept coming back even when we hit it very well. It gave us a challenge to know that we have to step on the court and be ready to play no matter who is on the other side.”
The Lady Patriots have gotten off to a slow start in their last few matches, but Lindsey looks for that to get turned around.
“We all knew after that first set and when we got together we talked about not starting like that and having better starts,” Lindsey said. “We have to come together, we didn’t have bad attitudes or anything, we just coudn’t get anything going.
“Santa Fe South was getting all the balls that were dribbling over the net and all those type plays were in their favor. It was just one of those games that we need to move on. We started out last three matches with a poor first set and our practice focus is that has to change. We can’t give away that first set and battle back.”
Macie Noland led the teams in kills with 21, while Kylie Moseley had seven and Alex Davis six. Chamberlain had seven service aces.
By Chuck Reherman