With conference seeding on the line, the St. Catharine Patriots (12-9, 6-4 MSC) hosted the Shawnee State Bears (12-10, 5-5 MSC) in Lourdes Hall on Saturday.
After finishing eight in the 2012 final Mid-South Conference standings, a battle for a solid fourth place standing seemed more like a dream than a reality for the St. Catharine Patriots. However, Saturday afternoon pit the Patriots against a Bears squad that they dropped three straight set to on the road and a chance to take a hold on fourth place. Set number one started slow for the Patriots as they fell behind 3-0 until rattling off five points to gain the advantage. A swift turn in momentum came, with the score 13-11 in favor of the Patriots, when Casey Stone (Princeton, Ky.) was able to rifle down one of her 11 kills on the day to the floor, lifting the crowd to their feet. From there the Patriots were able to cruise, winning set one 25-19.
With set two starting slowly for the Patriots once more, it was obvious that the Bears were in for the long haul. As set two continued to keep the two squads neck to neck, powerful kills and long volleys became the tell of the tape. Just as the Bears had forced extra points, leading 26-25, Shauna Stone (Bardstown, Ky.) rattled the floor as she muscled down a pivotal kill to knot the match at 26. Two long volleys later and the score tied at 27 Allie Southard (Louisville, Ky.) muscled down one of her six kills on the day to give the Patriots a brief glimpse of the lead; as soon as the Patriots led 28-27 the Bears stormed back 28-28. However, Casey Stone provided the dagger to the Bears once more as she was able to rip a kill through the heart of the blue defense, giving the Patriots a 29-28 lead and propelling them to a 30-28 victory.
After two well fought battles, the Bears weren’t ready to back down, as they maintained a two point differential for the majority of set three. However, Allie Southard, Cat Hall (Louisville, Ky.), and Rebecca Just (Louisville, Ky.) provided the spark in set three as they score many of their combined 22 kills on the day to push the Patriots over the edge to a 25-19 victory.
The Patriots will continue their Mid-South Conference conquest Wednesday at 7 PM when the University of the Cumberland’s (12-6, 5-5 MSC) invade Lourdes Hall.