Nixa eliminates Republic in close semifinal

Claire Esther (2) and Ryilnn Finley (16) converge on a ball during Republic's district semifinal win against Lebanon. (Photo by David Brazeal)

Republic’s best volleyball season in 10 years ended in a loss to top-seeded Nixa at home Monday night. Nixa overcame large deficits in two different sets to advance, 25-22, 21-25, 25-20, 25-21. The loss eliminated Republic from contention, ending their season with a 26-9 record. Nixa improved to 29-7.

In the opening set, Republic came out strong and grabbed an 18-10 lead, but Nixa clawed its way out of the hole by scoring 12 of the next 14 points. In the second set, it was Republic’s turn to come from behind. Nixa jumped to a 16-10 lead, but the Lady Tigers won seven of nine points to tie the score 18-18. From that point, Republic outscored Nixa 7-3 to even the night at one set apiece.

Nixa led most of the way in set number three, jumping ahead 8-2 and holding off a Republic rally. Republic got within two points at 21-19, but never closer, and Nixa established a two-sets-to-one lead.

In the fourth, Republic dominated early again, but couldn’t make the lead hold up. With Nixa trailing 9-2, the Eagles outscored Republic 12-5 over the next 17 points, evening the score. The rest of the set went back and forth, with four ties along the way, before Nixa won four of the last five points to clinch the victory.

Coach Allison Davis said her team just made too many mistakes against a good opponent.
“Nixa’s a great team. I’m not going to take anything from them, but what hurt us were the little errors we created and the things we could have controlled,” coach Allison Davis said. “Those moments where we were ahead… we had hitting error after hitting error, and it just added up. Those little errors are what got us — not being as consistent as we wanted at those very important moments.”

Republic's 26 wins are the most since 2012, when the team finished 28-8. Davis said this year’s team, especially seniors Kailey Manes, Kaemyn Bekemeier, and Claire Esther, have raised the bar for future expectations in the program.

“I’m proud of my team because they just did not stop fighting. They wanted it, and they worked so hard, and I just wish we could have done something to get this for them,” she said.


Lawrence County Record

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