WARRENSBURG — Smith-Cotton volleyball has been slow to warm up.
Saving its most competitive set for last, S-C let the third set slip away Tuesday during a 25-15, 25-16, 26-24 loss at Warrensburg.
Sedalia senior Macy Mathew and junior Paige Abney led the team with five kills apiece. S-C seniors Natalie Adermann and Emma Slaughter recorded 13 and 11 digs, respectively.
Replacing last year’s leaders in kills and playing without junior Bailey Brown due to injury, many S-C regulars lack significant varsity experience. Lady Tigers head coach Diane Shipley said the team has made a habit of improving as the match moves forward, but dropping the first set.
“It takes us a while to get going,” Shipley said. “We’re starting out so slow.”
Smith-Cotton snapped an 11-11 tie and never trailed en route to a 24-21 standing in the third set. Shipley called timeout after the home team cut the deficit to 24-23. Warrensburg extended the set and a hitting error ended the match.
“We had some young mistakes,” Shipley said.
S-C sophomore Sydney Toops collected 19 assists, sophomore Izzy Lyles had eight digs with four kills and Slaughter added four kills.
Warrensburg started the match with an 11-3 run and sophomore Grace Hill finished the opening set with a kill. In the second set, a 5-0 run forced Shipley to pause action trailing 16-9.
While complimenting the team’s offensive distribution, as four players recorded at least four kills, Shipley said spotty floor coverage and inconsistent passing has yet to allow S-C’s attack to maintain aggression.
“We’ve been playing a lot of defense,” Shipley said.
Smith-Cotton (0-5, 0-1 CMAC) started the season with a conference loss at Jefferson City. Three losses followed at Osage, Odessa and Clinton.
The Lady Tigers celebrate senior night, continue conference play and host their first home match Thursday against Rock Bridge.
Alex Agueros can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @abagueros2.