By Chuck Reherman
One way to prep for the regional tournament is to take on higher class ranked teams.
The Lady Patriots have been doing that with success.
Southwest Covenant knocked off class 4A No. 11 ranked Bethany Thursday night 3-1, using a strong hitting, blocking and service game.
The Lady Patriots, 15-12, have one match remaining, at home with 4A Christian Heritage Academy at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
SWCS has played six 4A teams, two five schools and one 6A school in the last nine matches. The team begins regional play next week at Rejoice Christian in Tulsa.
The Lady Patriots won the first two sets of the night, 25-17 and 25-16 and went into the third looking to pull off a sweep. Bethany came back to win the third 25-13 and in a back and in a back and forth set in the fourth, the Lady Patriots used a pair of kills from Caroline McReynolds and a block from McReynolds to score the final point and win the set and match 25-21.
The win came after the Lady Patriots had lost in three sets to Oklahoma Christian School on Tuesday.
“We have kind of been in a little struggle area, but we have played some really good teams,” Lady Patriot head coach Becky Mitchell said. “We played well against OCS, but not as well as we did with Bethany tonight. We had our heads screwed on pretty well.
“We were able to get Bethany down early and maybe it was a mental thing,” she said.
“They came back in the third and fourth set like crazy and we made a lot of mistakes in that third set and that was frustrating. But, we came back in the fourth and I was pleased that we stayed in it mentally and when we got down we didn’t get down, we came fighting back.”
The Lady Patriots did break a trend in the fourth set. In the first three, the team who scored first won the set, but in the fourth, Bethany jumped out to a 2-0 lead and led 3-1. The Lady Patriots came battling back. Kills from Kenzie Moseley and Autumn Smith tied the set at 8-8. A Moseley ace gave the Lady Patriots the lead and a second ace from her made it 10-8.
Bethany came back to regain the lead, but a Smith kill followed up by a service ace from her put SWCS back in the lead, 13-12.
An ace from Annabelle Mitchell, followed up by a Moseley kill made it 20-17. Bethany battled back to make it 21-20, but leading 23-21, McReynolds scored a kill and followed it with a block to seal the win.
In the opening set, SWCS led by as many as eight points before taking the 25-17 win. In the second, kills from Moseley and Smith, along with aces from Smith and Betsy Balthrop opened an 11-point lead, 19-8. A McReynolds kill gave the Lady Patriots the second set 25-16.
“We had some blocking going with Caroline and she did some good things,” Mitchell said. “I thought Caroline, Kenzie and Autumn hit the ball well. It was fun to watch them go up and get those kills.
“This will help our morale getting a win over a good 4A team to send us to the regionals, which is going to be tough.”