, Muskogee, OK

August 31, 2013

Lady Roughers take care of Norman in straight sets

By Nick Hampton
Phoenix Correspondent

— The last 10 days has been like riding a roller coaster for the Muskogee Lady Roughers volleyball team.

But August closed out on a high note as Muskogee rolled over their second straight opponent in easy fashion, beating Norman 3-0 (25-14, 25-13, 25-21) Friday night. That win, plus an easy win over Putnam City West on Thursday, lifts Class 6A’s No. 11 ranked Lady Roughers to 7-3 on the season as they take a breather for the three-day weekend.

After losing matches earlier in the month to top-10 ranked teams Union and Jenks, the Lady Roughers rebounded with back-to-back victories to close the month.

“We played pretty well tonight,” said Muskogee coach John Hammer. ”We played pretty clean the first two sets and then had a little lull in the third set. Overall, I was pretty pleased. Our transitions are looking better. Our middles are really coming along and playing with more confidence.”

The Lady Roughers jumped out to a 7-2 lead in the first set and never looked back. The Lady Tigers (4-7) got on top early in the second set with a 6-3 lead. But with sophomore Claire Farmer serving laser-like net topping serves, Muskogee rattled off seven straight points to take a 10-6 lead and slowly stretched the lead out until the end of the set.

The Lady Roughers opened an 11-7 lead in the third set only to see Norman bounce back to eventually tie things at 15-15. But starting with a Farmer kill, Muskogee outscored the Lady Tigers 7-1 to take a 22-16 advantage and from there closed out the set and the match.

Although Farmer didn’t have one of her best games (12 kills), Hammer noted several other players who stepped in to take up the slack.

“Claire (Farmer) didn’t have her best hitting night, but she had a good serving night and played good defense,” said Hammer. “Karla Jones (five kills) had a really good night, Alexis Rosson (five kills and five digs) played well. Brett Allen had another good game with seven digs and Jensen Martin was solid with 27 assists.”

Jones, one of just three seniors on the roster for Muskogee, was pleased with her effort and the team’s victory.

“I think we did great. We made a few mistakes, but we got through it,” said Jones, “I think tonight was my best game of the season.”

Hammer continues to feel Muskogee has a good chance to venture into uncharted territory –  the state tournament.

“I’m seeing signs of where we need to be to get there,” said Hammer. “In fact one of the referees tonight asked me if we had plans of going to state because he thinks we can get there. That’s a nice comment, we’ve never really heard anyone say that before. So yes, we have plans of going to state, but we need to focus on winning and getting into a favorable regional at the end of the season.”

After taking a breather for the holiday weekend, the Lady Roughers jump back into action next Tuesday as they travel to Broken Arrow.