By Jordan Burton (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
The O-Zone Volleyball Power rankings will be released on alternating Mondays throughout the volleyball season. Rankings are a measurement of dominance within class and not a head-to-head comparison. Coaches are encouraged to send any information, including stats, milestones and records to Chris Parker (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Jordan Burton (email@example.com). NOTE: Teams with scores that had not been reported were not considered.
1. (2) Rogersville (Class 3: 11-1)
The Lady Cats did suffer their first loss of the season on the road against Nixa, but keep in mind this is still a Class 3 team playing up. LogRog bounced back with sweeps of powers Willard and Ozark, then followed it up by rolling through the Winnetonka Tournament without dropping a set. This is the most dominant team in the Ozarks in terms of pound-for-pound rankings. Sophomore setter Samantha Thompson has been tremendous, handing out 207 assists already with just six errors, making life for stud hitters Birdie Hendrickson, Gabby Massengale and Allie Gipson even easier.
2. (3) Fair Grove (Class 2: 13-2-2)
Fair Grove continues to be untouchable in its class, with its only losses coming to Class 4s Carthage and Willard. The Lady Eagles are fresh off of yet another championship run in the Ash Grove Tournament, extending their unbeaten streak to six games. Alana Findley had 57 kills and 24 blocks in those six games. FG will have a few non-conference games, before starting Mid-Lakes play against Skyline on Sept. 25.
3. (12) Nixa (Class 4: 9-2)
Nixa continues to be the most surprising team in the Ozarks, beating Rogersville, Kickapoo and Fayetteville since our last rankings. Kickapoo did get some revenge in the Springfield Tournament, but it’s difficult to beat a good team twice in less than a week. We’ll figure out exactly how good Nixa is following a brutal stretch with Willard, at Carthage and at Ozark. This run will likely determine the COC championship.
4. (1) Ozark (Class 4: 6-2)
Ozark fell to Kickapoo and Rogersville since our last rankings, but the Lady Tigers remain the most talented team locally. They proved that in Illinois, rolling through the Normal Tournament to claim the championship, which included wins over powers Normal University and Bloomington. Senior Holly Luginbill had 38 total digs in those two games. Ozark will be in the Lee’s Summit Tournament and host Nixa before our next rankings.
5. (8) Kickapoo (Class 4: 13-6)
Each year we talk about how brutal their schedule is and each year they still manage to win 20 games and compete for conference and district championships. The Poo won the Springfield Classic over the weekend, getting revenge against Nixa who beat them earlier this season. The Lady Chiefs now own wins over Nixa, Ozark and Fayetteville (Ark.), while pushing Rogersville and Helias to three sets. They’ll hop back into conference play for matchups with Lebanon and Parkview, with a non-conference tilt with Carl Junction wedged between.
6. (4) Willard (Class 4: 14-2)
Willard has losses to the best two Class 3 teams in Missouri – Rogersville and Helias – but has rolled through everyone else. The Lady Tigers have won eight straight, including taking the Hillcrest Tournament title without dropping a set. In fact, their opponent only reached 20 points in three of 12 total sets. Willard
7. (7) Miller (Class 1: 13-2-2)
Losing to Fair Grove is never a bad thing. Grove is the only reason that Miller isn’t undefeated right now, beating them in the regular season and the championship of the Ash Grove Tournament. Huge Southwest Conference showdowns with Pierce City and Sarcoxie are looming for the Lady Cardinals, who continue to receive a boost from digs leader Claudia Hadlock and assists leader Alli Mitchell; both players are freshmen.
8. (5) Carthage (Class 4: 15-2)
Like everyone else locally, Carthage got a shot at national power Helias Catholic and came up a little short. And, despite an early loss to Carl Junction, Carthage bounced back by sweeping the Bulldogs in the Pittsburg (KS) Tournament championship. The Lady Tigers will have the trilogy with Carl Junction this week, as well as a date with Nixa, all part of a long homestand for C-Town.
9. (6) Clever (Class 2: 6-2)
Clever went to the Hillcrest Tournament over the weekend, seeing Class 4 programs like Webb City and Joplin. The Lady Jays did come up short against WC and Willard, but Class 2 Clever was extremely competitive. This will be a challenging period moving forward, with Hollister, Galena, Blue Eye and the Strafford Tournament.
10. (NR) McAuley Catholic (Class 1: 9-0-1)
Don’t look now, but McAuley is one of two undefeated teams in the Ozarks. The Lady Warriors won the Thomas Jefferson Invitational over the weekend, with junior Taylor Schiefelbein handing out 104 assists. This is a team that won 20 games a year ago and returns an experienced, senior-laden group. They’ll put their unbeaten record on the line against Thomas Jefferson and Purdy, before going to the Galena Classic next weekend.
11. (NR) Licking (C2: 10-0-1)
Licking is the other unbeaten squad and has dropped just two sets all season – none of those have come at home. The Lady Cats beat Class 4 Neosho twice on their way to winning the Cabool Tournament last weekend. Class 4 Rolla will come to town on Sep. 24, providing one of the toughest regular-season tests in 2018.
12. (15) Strafford (Class 2: 7-3)
The Lady Indians have quietly won three straight, including wins over Class 4 Glendale and Class 3 Aurora. Junior Mica Chadwell continues to emerge as a go-to hitter, with 14 kills against Glendale. The Lady Indians have a trip to West Plains and host the Strafford Volleyfest before hopping into West Plains.
13. (NR) Blue Eye (Class 2: 8-3)
Losing to Class 4 Parkview twice in a weekend isn’t a bad thing for Class 2 Blue Eye, with the championship of the Forsyth Tournament going three sets. The Lady Bulldogs are still unbeaten in Class 2 and are in the driver’s seat for the SWCL title. A date with former conference rival Clever will be a great barometer game. Blue Eye will also be in the Galena Tournament this weekend.
14. (11) MV-BT Liberty (Class 2: 5-3-1)
Liberty went 3-2-1 over the weekend at the West Plains Tournament, playing larger competition all weekend. Two of the Lady Eagles three losses went three sets. We’ll learn a lot more in the coming days with trips to Cabool, Houston, Winona and Salem upcoming. MV-BT Liberty will also be in the Carl Junction Classic in two weekends. They may add a few losses in the coming weeks, but this is still a very quality team.
15. (NR) Lebanon (Class 4: 12-4)
Lebanon’s reload has quickly turned into a rebuild. While the Jackets do have four losses this season (Rockwood Summit, Carthage, Nixa, Willard), they’ve taken care of business outside of those key matches, which includes a sweep of Carl Junction. They’ll hop back into Ozark Conference play with Kickapoo this week.
Knocking on the door: Cabool (8-2-1), Carl Junction (6-3), School of the Ozarks (12-4), Nevada (8-3), Marshfield (4-1), Winona (4-4-1), Hurley (9-2-1), Skyline (8-4), Parkview (10-1)