SWCS snaps skid, beats Harding in 3 sets

Kassidy Rubes reaches down to dig out a kill attempt during the Lady Patriots win over Harding Charter. (Photo by Chuck Reherman)

By Chuck Reherman
Sports Editor
After two tough matches in a row, Southwest Covenant needed a match that could get them back on track convincingly.
Harding Charter Prep Academy was just what the Lady Patriots needed. Although, it did end up a closer match that what SWCS thought it would and what it should have.
The Lady Patriots, 6-7, rolled to a three-set win over Harding, 25-22, 25-18 and 25-22, Tuesday night on Southwest Covenant’s home court.
“We got the ‘W’, and it was a little better than Monday’s game (a 3-0 loss to Oklahoma Christian School),” SWCS head coach Samantha Lindsey said. “We did play everyone and that was a positive. I am still missing one of my setters, we did get another player back today.
“Everyone got to play and the vibe was better than it was yesterday, it wasn’t quite as blah,” she said. “The games were closer than I probably would have liked. But, we didn’t any a negative energy, everyone stayed positive and they finished every set. I was really proud of them it is hard to get back in a winning routine after having a couple of tough losses. And, we have had people sick and people out and a lot of flexibility having to go on right now. I was proud of them sticking with it and the ones that don’t get to play a lot, go out and played really well.”

Laurel Wilbanks sides to her knees to return a shot against Harding. (Photo by Chuck Reherman)

Southwest Covenant coach Samantha Lindsey went to her bench early and often during the match, playing a number of younger players and that led to the closeness of the score.
The Lady Patriots had opened a 20-9 lead in the third set but saw Harding charge back. The Lady Eagles reeled off five straight to make it 20-14, then went on a 5-1 run to close to 21-19. Harding did make it 22-21 with a kill and it was 24-22 before the Lady Patriots scored the match winner.
“The match was a little closer than we wanted it to,” Lindsey said. “But after the last couple of weeks we have had, it is okay. They are about to have a four day weekend to rest their bodies and get back to work.
“The third game the players were having fun and weren’t as focused,” she said. “It got a little bit tight, but they pushed through it and got the win. They were having a little much fun in the third, but we were smiling and that is what volleyball is all about. It wasn’t the best match, we stayed positive and didn’t have any negative energy. Overall, I’ll take it.”
The Lady Patriots did jump out to an early lead in the opening set and looked to be in control early. Harding made a run midway in the match and cut the lead to 22-20. SWCS scored twice make it 24-20 and after Harding closed to 24-22 before the Lady Patriots scored the set winner.
In the second set, SWCS opened a 16-11 lead before seeing Harding made a run to close to 18-16. SWCS went on a 3-0 run to make it 21-16. The Lady Patriots opened a 23-16 lead before Harding closed to 23-18. A kill and a block from Davis and Emma Riggs.
“It was one of those matches that we knew we could win and we did get the points when we had to have them,” Lindsey said. “We tried to take Alex out because she gets so many sets a game. We moved her to the outside so that some other people could get some looks.
“She didn’t get many balls tonight and that’s okay because we were trying to save her arm a little bit when we can,” she added. “We need her to hit a lot of balls against the best teams down the stretch. We don’t want her arm to wear out before we get there. We moved her to middle and tried to set everyone else and save her arm. Everyone did a nice job of taking over the sets.”