There’s no easing into the season for the College of the Ozarks women’s basketball team.
The Lady Bobcats, coming off an appearance in the NAIA Division II national quarterfinals, opens the 2019-20 campaign at home on Friday and Saturday at the College of the Ozarks Women’s Basketball Classic at Keeter Gymnasium.
C of O will play Southeastern College (Florida) at 7:30 p.m. Friday, following a game between Concordia (Nebraska) and Sterling (Kansas) at 5:30 p.m.
The losers of Friday’s games will play at 1 p.m. Saturday, with the winners squaring off at 3 p.m. Saturday.
Concordia claimed the national championship last season, defeating Southwestern in the title game. Sterling and C of O are both fixtures in the national rankings every season.
The Lady Bobcats will then host rival Evangel in the first of a home-and-home series, on Nov. 5.
Blue Eye High School’s volleyball team won two of three pool-play matches, then dropped a two-set decision to Strafford to finish second in the Gold Division at the Hollister Invitational on Saturday.
The Lady Bulldogs improved to 22-7-1 on the season and will close out the regular season with home matches against Forsyth (Monday) and Crane (Thursday) before opening play at the Class 1 District 7 Tournament on Monday.
Blue Eye swept Thayer (25-12, 25-15) and Bergman (25-12, 25-13) before losing to Hollister (25-21, 25-23).
In a bracket play rematch, Blue Eye avenged that loss to Hollister with a 20-25, 25-23, 25-21 victory, before losing to Strafford (25-19, 25-20).
Senior Keaton Wilczynski collected her 1,000th career dig as the Lady Pirates improved to 27-4 on the season with a 25-13, 25-13 victory at Carl Junction on Thursday night.
Wilczynski finished with nine digs, adding to an offensive attack that included five kills from Morgan LeBlanc and four each from Jordyn Schwartz and Annie Graber. Mia Graber had 12 assists and two service aces.
Branson hosted Neosho on Monday and visited Willard on Tuesday, and will open the Class 4 District 10 Tournament on Monday against Springfield Glendale.
SCHOOL OF THE OZARKS
The Lady Patriots finished second in the Mark Twain Conference Tournament on Saturday, dropping a three-set decision to New Covenant Academy in the championship match.
The Lady Panthers’ perfect season ended in the Class 1 sectional round on Saturday, with a 5-0 loss to Barstow.
Forsyth’s dual-meet season ended with a 16-1 record, while Barstow dropped a 5-4 decision to Springfield Catholic in the quarterfinal round later Saturday.
SCHOOL OF THE OZARKS
Forsyth’s Devyn Rains turned in an eighth-place individual finish, leading Forsyth to a seventh-place team finish at the eight-team cross country invitational on Thursday.
Rains finished the 5K race in 18:37.20, with Lexi Lux taking 21st (19:51.70) and Kobe Hendrix finishing 23rd (20:01.20).
Reeds Spring was second in the team standings, led by Cole Weydert’s 10th-place individual finish, in a time of 18:57.30). Evan Brandsma was 18th, with a time of 19:37.90.
The host Patriots were eighth as a team, with freshman Luke Martin’s time of 21:16.90 good for 37th place individually.
In the girls’ competition, Forsyth’s McKenzie Calhoun was the top area finisher, with an eighth-place showing in a time of 25:29.10.
C OF O VOLLEYBALL
The Lady Bobcats won three of four matches at the St. Louis College of Pharmacy Tournament, highlighted by a victory over Lincoln College (Illinois) on Friday.
Lincoln had topped C of O in two earlier meetings this season, but the Lady Bobcats got a measure of revenge in a 29-27, 25-16, 30-32, 25-19 victory.
Ryley Thixton finished with a double-double, with 22 kills and 14 digs, with Rielly Wallace adding 58 assists, 11 digs and seven kills, and Izzy Gibbany had 39 digs.
C of O struggled in its second match Friday, committing 25 hitting errors in a 25-19, 23-25, 25-23, 25-18 loss to Freed Hardeman (Kentucky). Thixton and Abi Menzies had 11 kills each to pace the Lady Bobcats.
The Lady Bobcats swept both of their matches on Saturday, with a 25-22, 25-8, 25-14 victory over Stephens College, then a 25-20, 19-25, 25-15, 22-25, 15-13 decision over St. Louis College of Pharmacy.
Thixton had 14 kills and 13 digs and Wallace added 32 assists in the victory over Stephens. Wallace finished the weekend with a triple-double in the finale, with 10 kills, 42 assists and 11 digs. Thixton had 22 kills and 15 digs.
The weekend performance gave the Lady Bobcats a 16-11 overall record going into Tuesday night’s Senior Night match against Lyon College.