Columbia College volleyball coach Melinda Wrye-Washington could have been critical of the Cougars’ Game 3 performance Monday against Missouri Baptist.
It was the No. 7 Cougars’ closest game in their 30-18, 30-12, 30-26 win at The Arena of Southwell Complex. The Cougars fell behind 7-1 but came back to tie at 19. The Spartans also had a mini-rally after falling behind 28-22, scoring three consecutive points before losing the game.
Wrye-Washington said the question in her mind was did her team fall behind to an inferior opponent or did her team rally to finish the win.
She said she decided to focus on the positive.
“We finished strong,” Wrye-Washington said. “We didn’t play poorly. We just fell down to their level. My teams have a tendency to do that.”
Senior outside hitter Jacqueline Makokha kept the Cougars (21-3, 9-0 American Midwest Conference) in the third game, recording more than half her 10 kills.
“I knew I needed to give us a push
in the last game,” Makokha said.
Wrye-Washington said the play of senior setter Tracie Ford and the return of senior middle blocker Shana Aubrey helped free Makokha for kills.
“Jackie’s money every time she gets a lane with no blocker,” Wrye-Washington said. “But you have to give some credit to Tracie and Shana for doing things to get people out of Jackie’s way.”
Aubrey’s return from shin splints will give the Cougars a new look when they face Harris-Stowe State College at 7 p.m. today in St. Louis. Aubrey did not play in the most recent match between the teams on Saturday.
Game 3 was the lone bright spot for the Spartans, who followed a similar pattern in Games 1 and 2.
The Spartans were within two points early in both games before making service errors. After miscues, the Cougars went on a 5-0 run in Game 1 and a 9-0 run in Game 2 with Makokha serving both times.
In Game 2, the Cougars kept the pressure on after the initial run, taking a 27-8 lead.
“That’s how we should play all the time,” Ford said. “In Game 3, we lost our concentration and started watching the Cougar Vision screen.”
Serving was key for the Cougars, who had 13 aces and kept the Spartans out of their offense, limiting them to 17 kills.
“We talked about not serving for stats,” Wrye-Washington said. “We talked about remembering the rules of serving and we almost served them out of the building tonight.”