The program is only in its third year of existence, and for the first time will play enough varsity contests to qualify for a MSHSAA district tournament. The Lady Tigers concluded a five-day stretch of six matches Monday.
Two days after dropping a 25-18, 25-18 home decision to Northwest of Kansas City, Malta Bend went 0-4 at the tough Sherwood Tournament.
"The girls improved throughout the day," noted Haylie Loges, in her first season as the Lady Tigers' coach. "They received acknowledgement from others that watched them play how vastly they improved from last year and from game to game."
Malta Bend opened the meet with a 25-8, 25-20 loss to the host Lady Marksmen and completed pool play by falling to Lincoln (25-11, 25-16) and Drexel (25-14, 25-10). In a consolation match, the Lady Tigers were beaten by Knob Noster, 25-17, 25-18.
Junior Danielle Kiser and sophomore Kayla Kiehl were both named to the all-tournament team.
Malta Bend's progress was notable Monday during its home tilt against LaMonte, which had swept an earlier meeting. The Lady Tigers won the first game before eventually going down, 25-27, 25-15, 25-18.
That was due to scrappy defender, as sophomore Laci Warner came up with 12 digs, Kiehl produced eight, sophomore Sabra Cronk made seven saves and freshman Abby Gass added five. Warner and Kiehl also served up a pair of aces.
Malta Bend (1-10) has one more regular season match -- Oct. 16 versus Wellington-Napoleon -- before playing in the Class 1, District 14 Tournament the following week at Sweet Springs.
HUGHESVILLE -- Santa Fe got off to its customary slow start Monday before getting into its groove for a 25-23, 25-12 non-conference victory at Northwest of Hughesville.
The Lady Chiefs fell behind 6-1 to open the first game, but clawed its way back into the lead at 15-12 with six straight points. Trailing 22-13, the Lady Mustangs (5-5) reeled off 10 straight points to surge ahead before Santa Fe tied the contest and scored the final twice during sophomore Lexi Smith's serve.
The second set wasn't close, with the Lady Chiefs pulling out to a 16-7 advantage and cruising the rest of the way.
Smith had five kills and three blocks to top Santa Fe, with sophomore Katey Peters and senior Callie Gieselman combining for 13 digs and junior Brooke Barnett contributing five aces and nine assists.
The Lady Chiefs (20-6-1) finish their I-70 Conference campaign Thursday at Concordia.
SWEET SPRINGS -- Senior Mikalah Vogelsmeier had 17 kills, eight digs and four aces for Sweet Springs during Monday's 25-8, 16-25, 25-22 non-conference home win over Clinton, a Class 3 program.
"Everyone contributed," noted Lady Greyhounds head coach Kristen Niemeyer. "We never gave up."
Senior Rebecca Tyler provided assists on 27 of Sweet Springs' 33 attacks, including six spikes by sophomore Olivia Loges and four for junior Christina Higgins. Tyler also dropped three aces in on the Lady Cardinals (6-11-4), while junior Ashtin Hunter came up with nine saves and sophomore Nicole Bright made four blocks.
The Lady 'Hounds (8-8-2) return to I-70 Conference play Thursday at Lone Jack.