COLUMBIA — Columbia College's Southwell Complex served as the neutral meeting ground of rival high school volleyball teams Thursday. And although the location was shared, their paths out of it were very different.
Four days before playing in the district tournament, Rock Bridge came away with a 25-13, 25-22 sweep over Hickman.
The Bruins (28-2) continued their hot streak with their 12th-straight win.
The Kewpies (3-22) skidded to their eighth-straight loss.
Tied at 7 in the first set, Rock Bridge ripped off a furious run of 10 unanswered points to spur the lopsided start to the match. Hickman was overwhelmed by an attack lead by junior Ali Kreklow. The setter, a Missouri commit, scattered the ball around to a rotation that measured an average of 3 inches taller than the players on the other side of the net.
Hickman fell behind early in the next set. Down 6-1 after a timeout, the Kewpies took advantage of Rock Bridge's substitutions and strung together a scare with a late 9-1 rally.
Hickman, however, would never claim a lead.
"You dig yourself a hole, and you can't do that," Hickman coach Greg Gunn said. "But it was good to see them fight back."
Going forward, Bruins coach Robin Sherman said her team would look to improve on maintaining leads.
"Increasing the number of points that we get in a run and decreasing the number of points given in a run," she said. "The momentum in volleyball switches so quickly that you really need to be the team that's keeping the bigger runs."
Still, seeded second with a meeting set against Holt in the Class 4, District 9 tournament Monday, she said confidence was riding high for her team.
"I expect this team to win," Sherman said. "There's no reason that they shouldn't. If we keep it together mentally, we should do well."
Senior Kayla Cheadle said a group of nine seniors will be driven by two straight years of falling in the district round.
"We know that we can go far," she said. "We're motivated to win every game we play."
Hickman will travel to Quincy, Ill., for the Quincy Notre Dame Tournament before beginning the district tournament as the sixth seed against third-seeded Smith-Cotton.
"We have five matches before districts, so that's a good warm-up for us," Gunn said. "Maybe go knock off some rough edges, polish a few things, build some confidence, come back ready to play Monday night and see what happens."
Supervising editor is Sasu Siegelbaum.