CARL JUNCTION, Mo. — The Joplin Eagles won their pool and reached the Gold Bracket quarterfinals on Saturday in the Dr. Jeffrey Knutzen CJ Classic.
EAGLES FINISH 4-1, FALL IN BRACKET PLAY
Joplin defeated Nevada 2-0 (25-18, 25-21), Hillcrest 2-0 (27-25, 25-12), Hollister 2-0 (25-5, 26-24), and Aurora 2-0 (25-12, 25-17) before taking a two-set loss against Rogers, Arkansas.
“I thought we had a really strong start to the day,” Joplin coach Desiree Felker said. “We did a lot of things really well throughout pool play. We busted our butt all day and unfortunately, our first game in bracket play, things just didn’t go our way. We had a few serving errors, a couple hitting errors, serve receive wasn’t quite where we usually are, and that was the difference between how we started our day and how our day ended.
“We started playing really well at the end (against Rogers). We were making things happen, I just think the way we started the set versus how we ended the set made a difference. The hole we dug ourselves in at the beginning didn’t allow us to get all the way out of it. I’m proud of the girls for the way they dug in and they fought. We just have to clean things up earlier to win those kinds of games.”
Bailey Owens earned all-tournament honors, and she tallied 45 kills, 15 digs, and five blocks on the day.
Paisley Parker added 24 kills and 33 digs, Abby Hembree seven kills, eight aces, 26 digs and 86 assists, Serafina Auberry 10 kills and 11 digs, Adalynn Noirfalise 12 kills and 30 digs, Abigail Edwards 18 digs and nine aces, Jayla Hunter 51 digs, and Raelin Calderon eight kills and seven blocks.
Joplin moved to 12-7-1 overall this season and the Eagles return to action Tuesday at home against Central Ozark Conference foe Republic (20-7, 2-0 COC).
“The rest of our season is going to be tough,” Felker said. “We have conference games the rest of the way, then we have a tournament (Oct. 14-15) in Ozark. I think the CJ Classic does a good job of preparing us for that. We know what we need to get back to doing on Monday, and that’s what we’re here for.”
NEOSHO NETS 2-2-1 MARK ON SATURDAY
The Neosho Wildcats finished second in their pool and reached the Gold Bracket quarterfinals in the CJ Classic.
Neosho lost against tournament host Carl Junction 2-0 (13-25, 9-25) to start the day on a rough note, defeated pool opponents Pittsburg, Kan. 2-0 (25-9, 25-18) and Rogers Heritage, Ark. 2-0 (27-26, 25-21), tied Springfield Central (25-22, 16-25), and lost to Harrisonville 2-0 (18-25, 16-25) in the quarters.
“Overall, it was good,” Neosho coach Jessica Walton said. “We started out really rough having our only setter that was able to play in the first set getting hit in the face and she had a concussion, she just got cleared. We came back, once we got our setter cleared, and we beat Pittsburg and Heritage. That’s good.
“I’m proud of them. This year, we made it to the Gold Bracket, and we ended up placing second in our pool. We’ve already beaten our wins record from last year, so overall I think we’re on the right track. We’re improving. We’re getting a lot of bad setbacks right now.”
Neosho senior Meredith Baldwin earned all-tournament honors, but she left the quarterfinal match and did not return against Harrisonville.
“She’s just been an awesome competitor,” Walton said. “She’s been so aggressive. I’ve never seen our two senior middles (Baldwin, Karlee Ellick) hit as hard as they have. They’re just rocking the front row.
“We were tied in the first set, and she went up for the block. The girl was in the net, and she landed on her foot, and there it went. We’re praying that it’s just a sprain and not a fracture, but at the end of the day, we just hope that she’s healthy and we’ll do what’s best for her.”
Neosho, 7-6-1 overall, returns to action Tuesday in Central Ozark Conference play at home against Carl Junction.
ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM AND MVP
Below is the 2022 Dr. Jeffrey Knutzen CJ Classic All-Tournament Team as well as the tournament MVP:
Destiny Buerge, Carl Junction
Logan Jones, Carl Junction
Meghan Grone, Springfield Central
Kennedy Smalley, Harrisonville
Bailey Owens, Joplin
Meredith Baldwin, Neosho
Delaney Hope, Nevada
Jacy Thomasson, Riverton
Malia Fosse, Rogers
Trinity Collette, Siloam Springs
Kate Brownfield, Webb City
Kyah Sanborn, Webb City
MVP—Aubree Lassiter, Webb City