EL DORADO – It took a scare from Augusta but the third ranked Circle Lady Thunderbirds volleyball team is wide awake and ready for the season after Tuesday’s triangular.
Circle went 2-0, with wins over Augusta and El Dorado to start their season. Augusta took a second set after Circle held a sizable lead. The Lady T-Birds stepped up in the fifth set.
"We lost three all-staters off last year’s team," Shelly Nibarger said. "Although, today I really liked our composure."
Circle had to battle back against El Dorado in a match that was much closer than the final scores indicated.
"We have that never die attitude," Nibarger said. "We saw that tonight."
Augusta 2, El Dorado 0
Augusta used two close sets to beat one of their county rivals on Tuesday night at El Dorado High School.
The Orioles had already taken a match from El Dorado this weekend in the Winfield Tournament and found a way in the winning column again.
Behind the serving of Trinity McMichael and Avery Williams, the Orioles were able to keep El Dorado at arm’s length for much of the first set. They would win 25-20. It was the second set that showed some determination.
The Wildcats led for most of the second set, and by as many as six points but Augusta never wavered. El Dorado held a 18-14 lead but the Orioles pressed on and fought to tie it at 23-all. They would capture the next two points, securing the two-set victory.
Circle 2, Augusta 1
Much like you would expect the No. 3 team in Class 4A to play, the Lady Thunderbirds came out and jumped on the Oriole. They were aggressive at the net and limited self inflicted mistakes and they rolled to a 25-14 first set win.
Augusta had other plans for the second.
After Circle led 19-15 in the second set, Augusta chipped away, eventually evening the match at 20-all. They would secure the next point, giving them their first lead since early in the set, when they led 8-7.
Augusta would push onto the 24-22 lead and then Circle were their worst enemy, hitting it into the net on game point, giving Augusta the second set, 25-22.
In a pivotal third set, Circle jumped out to an 13-4 lead behind a strong service game from sophomore Lyric Edgerle. She had three straight service aces.
Laci Beougher had a stellar spike to end an Augusta run, making the score 16-9 for the Lady T-Birds.
The Lady T-Birds survived the scare, winning the third set 25-12.
Circle 2, El Dorado 0
After trailing for much of the first set, Circle finally found their rhythm as they would eventually tie the match at 14-all. They would take the lead on a diving save by Taylor Bessent. Her diving save sent the ball sailing into an area with no Wildcats, giving Circle their first lead at 15-14.
"It’s those type of plays that can really get your team fired up," Nibarger said. "It may have been the first time I’ve ever seen a dig kill."
Circle would secure the lead on a misplay off an El Dorado set. Then, a kill by Addie Devine caused trouble for El Dorado, leading to another point and the run would reach three points.
The Lady T-Birds would score six of the final eight points in the set to win 25-20.
Junior Ella Mullins would be the fuel to start the second set. She helped the Lady T-Birds roll off four straight points to take the lead for good.
Circle would turn up the heat as the set moved on. They would seven straight points to take a 16-4 lead. It would be Smith’s service game that was too much for the Wildcats.
"Reagan served great for us in both sets," Nibarger said.
The Lady T-Birds would close out the set 25-9.
Augusta will host Buhler and Mulvane in their first home triangular of the season on Tuesday, Sept. 8.
Circle will host Winfield and McPherson in their first home triangular next Tuesday, too.
"McPherson has won the league I don’t know how many years in a row," Nibarger said. "We’d really like to give it them our best shot."
El Dorado heads to Andale to play the Indians and Clearwater.