CPHS Volleyball drops seven-straight matches against top-ten foes

The Charles Page High School varsity volleyball team (2-7) is riding a rough streak of seven-straight losses following a 2-0 start to the season. After opening the year with straight-set victories against Bartlesville (0-4) and 5A No. 13 Booker T. Washington (3-5), they suffered their first defeat 3-1 at No. 8 Union (5-4). They returned to Union for a tournament this past weekend and lost all five matches, then fell to No. 7 Jenks (7-7) on Tuesday.

Jenks 3 CPHS 0
(25-7, 25-22, 25-21)

Kills: Mutiri 12, Youngblood 5, Burris 2, Bradshaw 1, Madison Ward 1.
Assists: MaKenzie Ward 8, Burris 7, Bradshaw 1, Mutiri 1. 
Aces: Mutiri 1, Taylor 1.
Blocks: Mutiri 2.
Digs: Taylor 4, Madison Ward 3, Burris 1, Mutiri 1. 

The Lady Sandites won only two of seventeen sets in the tournament, but Head Coach Janna Green wasn't too disappointed with the results. "This last tournament was rough, but we got a lot better and played some very competitive teams even though we went 0-5."

"Very competitive" may have been an understatement. All five teams are ranked in the top-ten of their division, and three are ranked in the top five. Sand Springs, meanwhile, just cracked the rankings at No. 19 in Class 6A.

Despite a winning 24-14 record last season, the Lady Sandites are still considered underdogs in the eyes of traditional powerhouse programs. They lost Holly Kersgieter who decided to focus exclusively on basketball, for which she has received seven NCAA Division I offers. However, they still boast a senior-heavy squad of experienced players led by Ohio State University-commit Gloria Mutiri.

On Friday the girls fell 3-0 to 5A No. 3 Bishop Kelley (4-3) who were the State Runners-Up last season. The Lady Comets defeated Sand Springs 25-15, 25-12, and 25-20. Then Sand Springs took on No. 1 Edmond Santa Fe (7-0) who made the State Semi-Finals last season. The Lady Wolves prevailed 25-17, 25-16, and 25-14. Finally, the closest round of the tournament was a rematch with Union. The Redskins won 3-0, but each set was highly contested at 25-21, 25-23, and 25-21. 

Saturday was another day of close losses to highly skilled competitors, and the Sandites notched set wins against each of their opponents. Against No. 4 Stillwater (8-3) they won the third set 28-26, but lost the other three 25-19, 25-13, and 28-26. Against 5A No. 7 Victory Christian they won the second set 25-18, but fell 25-22, 25-20, and 25-20 in the other games.

On Tuesday the girls took on another tough opponent in No. 7 Jenks (6-6), who was undefeated against Oklahoma teams. All of their losses came at the John Turner Invitational in Houston, Texas. Jenks was also coming off a State Semifinals appearance.

The Lady Sandites got off to a rough start, falling in a 4-0 hole before receiving a point off a Trojan error. All of the Sandites' early points came from Jenks's mistakes, and the home team worked up a 15-5 lead before Devree Youngblood scored the first Sandite kill of the game. Youngblood's two kills, both with assists from Madison Burris, were the only kills of the set for the Sandites, who lost game one 25-7.

The second game was a whole different story. Mutiri came alive with a kill, a block, and an ace en route to a 7-3 lead. Youngblood added a kill, Burris and Chelsea Neely combined for a block, and in just a few minutes the Sandites had outscored their entire first set. 

Sand Springs held on to the lead till 10-10 when Jenks went on a six-point run, but the visitors retaliated with a seven-point streak including five points from Mutiri and a kill from Kenzie Bradshaw. 

Things continued to stay all knotted up, but Jenks didn't take the lead again till 22-21 when Ally Stoner served an ace. Unfortunately for the Sandites, they would only score one more point on a campfire kill from Youngblood. Despite trailing for most of the set, Jenks rallied in the end for a 25-22 win. 

The third set was another close one with eight tied scores, though Sand Springs led for the majority. Jenks took the lead out of the gate, but MaKenzie Ward set up Mutiri and Madison Ward for back-to-back kills and an 11-9 advantage. The game tied a few times, but Jenks didn't lead again till 19-18 when they surged ahead in the final moments for a 25-21 win.

The Lady Sandites will return to action Friday at the Broken Arrow Tournament at Centennial Middle School. They will play on Court #2 against No. 5 Edmond Memorial (1-0) at 11:00 a.m., against No. 9 Edmond North (4-3) at 2:00 p.m., and against No. 11 Owasso (2-1) at 3:30 p.m. Bracketed matches will be played on Saturday beginning at 9:00 a.m. Other teams participating in the tournament include No. 3 Norman North (6-1), No. 10 Broken Arrow (2-2), No. 16 Southmoore (1-2), and Bartlesville.