How much better is a #4 seed than a #5? Apparently just four points.
East Newton's Christin Wheeler came alive to score three of the final four points as the Lady Patriots pinned a first-round loss on Cassville in a Class 3 District 11 matchup at Aurora on Monday night. The Ladycats dropped the first game, 25-18 but tied the match with a tense 25-19 victory in the second game, before yielding in the final game.
Jerry Schneider's team led by as many as four points midway through the deciding game, but the Lady Pats rallied to take the game and the match.
The Ladycats led early in the first game. Emily Pry patrolled the net for Cassville, turning blocks into points as her team gained a 7-6 lead without trailing. But Cassville came apart on 10 unforced errors. East Newton seized the advantage and took the first game.
Cassville calmed down in the second game, and it was East Newton's turn for poor serves and defensive lapses. The Ladycats shrugged off nine ties to take a 16-15 lead. Although the Lady Patriots would gain one more tie at 17-17, Cassville's Rachel Sanders, Risa Darveaux and Rhiannon Miller took turns scoring to push the lead to 23-18.
Then Amanda Allison pounded a winner past the defense to regain the serve at 24-19, and Mikaylin Hinson closed out the game with an ace to tie the match at a game apiece.
Cassville rocked East Newton early in the final game but could not overcome the Lady Patriots. Kelsey Talbert and Haley Heilig hammered winners to give East Newton a 19-18 lead, and then Wheeler took over down the stretch.
The Ladycats end their season with a 14-15-2 record.