COWETA — Claremore Volleyball used a strong team effort in a 25-16, 25-12 sweep over Tahlequah on Saturday in the Coweta Tournament.
The tournament began Friday morning and featured a round-robin format with eight teams in total. The Lady Zebras finished 2-5 in that span.
“It was a really tough tournament,” Claremore coach Derek Jackson said. “I think we’ve come together as a team and learned a lot. We still have things to work on, but I think we’re close to putting some really important pieces of the puzzle together.”
Claremore opened Saturday’s action with a tough three-set loss to Coweta 24-26, 25-19, 11-15, then dropped their next match to Glenpool 12-25, 13-25.
On Friday, the Lady Zebras faced four more qualifiers from the Class 5A state tournament from a year ago.
Claremore lost its opener to last season’s runner-up Carl Albert 15-25, 21-25. The Lady Zebras then fell to Piedmont, the team that eliminated them in the quarter-finals last year, 15-25, 17-25.
Claremore followed that up with another loss to Lawton Macarthur 20-25, 16-25, but bounced back with a 25-21, 25-21 victory over Sapulpa to close things out on Friday.
“Beating Tahlequah is a good confidence booster,” Jackson said. “Beating a state qualifier in Sapulpa will really help us down the road.”
The Lady Zebras (3-6) were never behind in the two sets against the Lady Tigers. Claremore earned the first three points of the first set behind solid serve from Hannah Dorsey.
Tahlequah was able to bounce back and forge a handful of bonds. The last of those came at 10-10, but the Lady Zebras took control with a 6-1 run from that point.
Claremore was able to end the first set quite comfortably thanks to solid play from the duo Maddy Buysse and Reese Newman.
The second set was not as difficult for the Lady Zebras as they scored the first five points en route to an 11-1 advantage.
Dorsey started this start with a solid serve again. Ella Irvin, Augustina Munoz and Claire Hardage also provided a boost with solid play at net.
Claremore saw their lead stretch to 23-6, and Elisabetta Bertoli and Ella Ramsey helped that effort with good serve from both. Elsa Rhodes also provided an elevator with several key digs.
The Lady Tigers tried to scratch and recover, saving four match points. The Zebra Ladies, however, never felt seriously threatened thanks to the big cushion they built.
Claremore hosts Tahlequah on Thursday and then plays another tournament next Friday and Saturday in Sapulpa.
“The focus was on energy and attitude,” Jackson said. “Reese Newman, Landry Price and Nicky Parziale have really stepped up in this department. They’re helping to build a culture that will last much longer than their years here.”