CARL JUNCTION, Mo. — Twenty four hours ago, the Carl Junction volleyball team went across state lines and took care of business with a 3-0 sweep at Rogers (Ark.) on Monday night.
And then the Bulldogs turned right around to play Tuesday night with a home matchup against Mount Vernon.
While Cheryl Sharples said it wasn’t Carl Junction’s cleanest brand of volleyball, the Bulldogs dominated Mount Vernon to earn a 3-0 triumph in non-conference action.
Carl Junction won by set scores of 25-22, 25-21 and 25-16.
“You could tell at times we weren’t as mentally sharp as we wanted to be,” Sharples said. “We were missing serves. We have talked about just being aggressive on serving, so you are going to have to take some serves to get that aggressive serve into play. We wanted to make them earn a lot of their points.
“At times, we struggled with that but the great thing is we found a way to win.”
After claiming the opening set, the Bulldogs picked right up where they left off in the second set. Sophomore middle hitter Kylie Scott punctuated the set with a loud kill to hand Carl Junction a 2-0 advantage over the Mountaineers.
Mount Vernon took control of the third set with a 6-3 lead after an attack error. But the Bulldogs countered with a 6-3 burst to deadlock the margin at 9-9.
And it was all Carl Junction from there. The Bulldogs closed out the set on a 16-6 rally that included two kills and an ace from Arkansas commit Logan Jones and a pair of kills from freshman Karissa Chase.
Carl Junction (4-2) has now won three straight contests and four of its last five.
“A ton,” Sharples said of the growth her team has made. “We have several kids back from last year. If you start adding a few new people into a lineup, you’ll have a whole different team. We are really starting to form our continuity and coming together as a team.”
Jessa Hylton, a senior outside hitter, contributed 10 kills and seven digs while junior Destiny Buerge collected nine kills and 13 digs to pace the Bulldogs.
A senior middle and outside hitter, Maggie Brown slammed seven kills and added four blocks and eight digs. Sophomore Kylie Scott tallied eight kills and senior Olivia Vediz came up with 11 digs.
Jones handed out 35 assists and had five kills.
“Jessa has had a couple of good nights for us and is starting to get a little more consistent for us on the outside,” Sharples said. “I think our middles, Maggie and Kylie, are doing a really great job. I also have to give a shout out to Logan because she passes the ball to them. Des is hitting the ball really well for us right now.
“They are all doing a lot of good things for us.”
Carl Junction hosts McDonald County at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday. The Bulldogs open up Central Ozark Conference play at home against Carthage next Tuesday.
“It’s always exciting going into the COC,” Sharples said. “Every night is a dogfight, so you know there is not going to be any easy matches. We just want to fine-tune some things and get ready to open up COC.”