The St. Catharine Patriots (6-4, 1-0 MSC) traveled to east Tennessee and the Milligan College Mountain Madness for their final tune up before the full conference schedule begins last weekend.
Head Coach Jason McDannold referred to the trip as “our last opportunity to prepare for conference quality teams without feeling the harsh penalty for taking chances with rotations.”
On Friday the Patriots displayed their conditioning level by playing the host Milligan Buffaloes (0-7) and the Emmanuel College Lions (3-2) to 5 sets, taking the win in both games. “We really showed our maturity on Friday” says McDannold. “Our girls hung in there, and were able to come away with two victories right after the long road trip.” During the second game the Patriots fell behind 2 sets to 0, but were able to claw their way back to a victory. “You could just tell that we were a step ahead of the other teams near the end of the match” says McDannold. “It’s a real confidence booster to know that if we go 5, we always have a chance.”
The Patriots looked to continue their winning ways Saturday, but were unable to overcome the high powered offenses of both Bryan College (4-0) and Southern Wesleyan (5-4). In the two games combined the Patriots were only able to muster 10 total blocks, a category in which they are leading the country with 114.5. “Our front row struggled a bit on Saturday” says McDannold. “Fortunately our back row stepped up and kept us in the games to compete.” Over the two game period, Randa Murphy (Greensburg, KY) compiled 47 digs with Abbey Sorrells (Elizabethtown, KY) and Rebekah Sams (Lexington, KY) combining for 35 digs from the back row. “It’s a simple case of getting started slow” says McDannold. “When we don’t have Jodie [Klein] it changes the rotation. Our girls will get better at making faster adjustments as the season continues; we have plenty of depth to fill roles.”
A major bright spot came for the Patriots with the announcement of the all-tournament team; junior middle hitter Casey Stone (Princeton, KY) was named to the team for her offensive play throughout the weekend. Casey combined for 37 kills over the 4 game spread, which is over half the kills (64) she has scored this season. During the Emmanuel win, Stone tallied 15 kills for her season high and managed a .225 attack percentage. “Casey is a great kid and has really stepped in as a leader for this team” says McDannold.
The Patriots will return to the confines of Lourdes Hall on Thursday, September 5 at 7 PM to face the Bears of the University of Pikeville (3-3, 0-0 MSC). The Patriots will place their undefeated conference (1-0) and home (2-0) records on the line as the Bears come in with a .500 record and without a game played in the Mid-South Conference for 2013.