By BRETT MARSHALL
SCOTT CITY — When the Scott City Invitational volleyball tournament got underway with pool play Saturday morning, the coach of the host Lady Beavers, Jordan Shay, was hoping for another chance to meet up with the Dodge City Lady Red Demons.
The teams had met just two days prior at the Garden City quadrangular where Dodge City had to rally from a 7-1 third-set deficit and hand the Lady Beavers a tough 25-21 setback to claim the match.
Shay got her wish at their home tournament as the Lady Beavers and Lady Red Demons, both finishing second in respective pool play, won their semifinal matches against Oakley and Holcomb to set up the wished-for rematch.
And just like Thursday, Shay's squad battled the taller, powerful Class 6A Red Demons on near-even terms but eventually fell in the championship match, 25-15, 21-25, 25-13.
"The number one thing for our girls is that we're still a little bit intimidated by them," Shay said of Dodge City. "We talked about that in the huddle afterward. They've got some really good hitters but the fact is I think we can play with them."
In the first set of the best 2-of-3 match, Dodge City jumped on the Lady Beavers early and rolled to a relatively easy 25-15 victory. The Lady Demons were up 7-1 early and never were threatened.
In a repeat from Thursday, Scott City won the second set 25-21 by staying on near-even terms with Dodge City. Never trailing by more than one point, the Beavers eventually took the lead for good at 15-14. A 20-16 advantage was trimmed to 20-19 but Shay's squad reeled off four unanswered points, getting a tip by Emily Hess, and two blocks of attempted kills by Dodge's outstanding senior A'zlynn Thompson. The final point came when Thompson was called for a bottom lift.
"I think that kind of showed that we can play with them," Shay said of the second set. "We took that from them, but we couldn't keep that up in the third."
Dodge City jumped out to another early commanding lead and never was challenged, leading by scores of 7-3, 16-4 and 20-11 to keep the Lady Beavers from any sustained rallies.
"We've talked about that all year," Shay said of getting behind. "It's really hard to come back when we dig a hole and get down by a lot of points, especially in rally scoring. Their hitters are just too good to overcome that."
Still, the first-year coach at Scott City had plenty of reason to be pleased in watching her team improve to 20-12.
"I think the highlight of the day was beating Oakley in the semifinals," Shay said. "That's the third time we've beat them this year and they always play us well. We played awesome against them. We were blocking and hitting and doing all the things that we needed to do. That was a great game for us."
Holcomb, which had won its pool earlier, fell to Dodge City in its semifinal match and then came back to defeat Oakley for third place.
See results in Scoreboard, Page B2.