The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

November 7, 2012

OCC draws favored Clearwater in national tournament

By Anvil Welch
Globe Sports Writer

— Ozark Christian College setter Bethany Decker, because of sickness, was unable to make the trip to Kissimmee (Fla.) for the NCCAA Division II Volleyball Championships.

“We all know without Bethany (junior from Aurora) we’ll have to make adjustments,” OCC coach Tony Allmoslecher said during a telephone interview on Tuesday. “We’ll do the best we can.”

Allmoslecher said the bus trip for the players — except for the 22 hours — went OK.

“The players — we have a healthy eight — naturally are excited about participating in the tournament,” Allmoslecher said. “Bethany (Decker) was our returning player from last season’s national runner-up team.”

The Ambassadors are seeded ninth among 10 teams and are in Pool A. Their pool matches start at 11 a.m. on Thursday against defending champion Clearwater Christian in the Kissimmee Civic Center. OCC faces No. 8 Providence at 3 p.m.

OCC, on Friday, faces fourth-seeded Kentucky Christian at 11 a.m. and No. 5 Manhattan Christian at 7 p.m.

“Clearwater is an incredible program,” Allmoslecher said. “Second-seeded Maranatha Baptist Bible could give them a run for their money. We played Maranatha at the beginning of the season. They’re very good.”

Allmoslecher said the OCC players will participate in a Christian Service Project today in the afternoon and tonight they will attend the Opening Serve Banquet. A short practice will be held in the morning.

The healthy OCC players — all freshmen — are Rickie Lea Duley, Amy Huitt, Jenny Larsson, Carrie Page, Sarah Rhodes, Janie Weece, Dakota Welker and Addy Wood.

Decker was released from a Springfield hospital on Saturday, her dad said Tuesday.

“She’s home, OK and resting,” Dan Decker, superintendent at Aurora High School, said. “She had blood poisoning. Her doctor has prescribed a sedentary life style for a few days.”

Bethany is the oldest of Jenni (formerly Walker) and Dan’s five children. Dan and Jenni prepped at Lockwood and Miller, respectively.