Volleyball tops Branson, improves to 24-5

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Junior Paige Schrader, left, and junior Alexa Boyle, right, go up for a block against Branson. Brennan Stebbins / The Carthage Press

It took a little while for the Tigers to fire on all cylinders, but once they did the Carthage volleyball team cruised to a 25-13, 25-20 victory at home against Branson on Tuesday night.

Carthage improved to 24-5 overall and 4-2 in Central Ozark Conference play.

The Tigers played from behind early in the first set before using a 15-3 run to open up a 21-10 advantage, capped by a kill from the right side by senior Riley Kabance. Juniors Paige Schrader and Alexa Boyle added kills down the stretch, and senior Abbey Ling finished off the set with an ace.

“The girls are working hard and they’re giving good effort, we just weren’t clicking but it seemed like all of a sudden things began to happen,” said head coach Tony Allmoslecher. “I think we made the transition when we started working our middles more. When we got our middles more involved in the game it seemed it opened up for us.”

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Carthage led the entire second set, but the Pirates used a late run of their own to make things interesting. Schrader helped the Tigers jump out to a five-point lead, and a Boyle kill made it 15-9. Points from senior A.C. Crockford kept Carthage ahead by at least five, but Branson went on a 5-2 run to pull within 19-17 following two straight aces by Branson’s Kayli Nimmo.

Boyle scored consecutive points after that, and the Tigers won four of the last five points to seal the win.

“We’re at that part of the season when it’s a little bit of a grind,” Allmoslecher said. “It’s easy for the girls to kind of look ahead to districts and we just can’t do that because Branson’s a good club and they put together some great runs tonight against us. It’s a reminder we have to play hard.”

Boyle finished with 12 kills, Schrader had two blocks, senior Gracie Fagg recorded 33 assists and senior Jillian Brunnert totaled 10 digs. Ling had the only ace.

“Paige Schrader had a really good game,” Allmoslecher said. “I’m always encouraged by our setter. Gracie had a great game setting. She made great choices with the ball. Jillian Brunnert, our libero, was solid again. Lexi Black, one of our DS’s – we just know when she’s on the court we have a solid defense. She just reads the ball well. She’s huge for our defensive chemistry when she’s on the court.”

Carthage will play three-straight road games before finishing up the regular season at home against Springfield Central on Oct. 18. The Tigers travel to Ozark on Thursday.