Tracie Ford just might have found a new calling this season.
The senior, who started at outside hitter in Columbia College's 3-0 (30-26, 30-26, 30-22) victory over Lindenwood switched to setter for the Cougars' 3-0 (30-25, 30-18, 30-18) victory over the University of Illinois-Springfield.
"We were more comfortable with Ford as the setter," coach Melinda Wrye-Washington said. "She's a better setter this year than the girl we had last year, and she was an All-American."
Ford is no stranger to the position of setter, having come to Columbia College as an all-state setter for Blue Springs High School.
Ford finished the second match with 37 assists and flashed her skills as a former outside hitter early, making two kills that took the Prairie Stars by surprise and kept them from cheating up on Ford's setting.
"(Ford) is touching 9' 8", which means she can slam that ball down when the other team just expects her to set," Wrye-Washington said. "That makes her dangerous."
With Ford moving to setter freshman outside hitter Nancy Sikobe took over as the right outside hitter and made eight kills. The Cougars had 48 kills and a hitting percentage of .385. Senior outside hitter Jacqueline Makokha said the team's performance was still unimpressive.
"It's not enough," Makokha said. "We still have more work to do."
After pulling within two in the first game, Illinois-Springfield never got closer than four points in either of the last two games once the Cougars reached the 10-point mark.
"Those last two games were pretty smooth," Makokha said. "We weren't really worried at any point."
In the first match Lindenwood University kept the first two games close but did not take a lead late in either game. In the third game the Lions pulled within four points but got no closer.
"We were just trying to finish that game because we knew we'd have more to play," Ford said.
Although she saw her team improve against Lindenwood by sweeping the Lions, Wrye-Washington said she was more upset after the Cougars' second consecutive win over Lindenwood.
"It's not funny anymore," Wrye-Washington said. "Not much improved."