Carroll volleyball coach Moe Boyle had one hope as her team entered Thursday’s match against the College of the Ozarks: That her team would close out their season, one of the most successful in her 12-year tenure, with a strong match. The team responded and earned a convincing sweep over the Bobcats.
Carroll dominated, hitting .392 as a team while racking up 51 kills in the 25-18, 25-21, 25-10 win.
The first set was relatively close. Ozarks trailed just 15-12 before the Saints rattled off a 5-1 run to go up 20-13 en route to the 25-18 win.
In Set 2, the Bobcats got the first point before Carroll scored six straight, four on kills by Brielle Bumgarner, to take complete control. Ozarks would rally, though. Trailing 22-14, the Bobcats scored seven consecutive points to cut the lead to 23-21. But Carroll notched three straight to win it.
The third set was all Carroll. The Saints went on a 12-2 run in the middle of the set. The run would be the bulk of the difference as Carroll went on to win, 25-10.
Bumgarner had 14 kills with just three errors for a .458 hitting percentage. Holly Morehouse was even more efficient. She notched 13 kills on 19 attempts without a single error for a .632 percentage.
The three Carroll seniors also shined in their final match in purple and gold. Paige Montgomery had 12 kills with a .400 attack percentage. Natalie Kassa had a team-high 10 digs and Jonni Dorr paced the attack with 43 assists and eight digs.
“We played a great match from start to finish; we came out and played our game,” Boyle said. “I really believe that throughout the year we’ve gotten better in a lot of areas. The team stuck together through thick and thin. They put it all together today and it was a great way to end a really good season.”
The win gives the Saints a 24-8 record on the year, the third most wins in Boyle’s tenure and the most since the Saints went 25-12 in 2012. Carroll also won the first double Frontier Conference championship -- taking the regular-season and tournament titles -- in Boyle’s time as coach.
Carroll also advanced directly to the NAIA final site for the first time in school history.
The Saints went 1-2 in pool play at the championship, and did not advance. It was a disappointing result but, for Boyle, it doesn’t diminish what this program accomplished.
“Not making it out of pool play at the national tournament doesn’t take away from the year that we had,” she said. “These girls have accomplished a tremendous amount on and off the court, starting in August and through September. We went down to California and won four matches and just kept getting better. It all started with those seniors and I think there is going to be some carryover to those who will return next year.”
The Saints do lose Frontier Setter and Player of the Year Jonni Dorr, as well as first team All-Frontier outside Paige Montgomery and second team All-Frontier libero Natalie Kassa, but Carroll returns a lot of strong players, including all-conference right side hitter Holly Morehouse and All-Freshman Team member Ayla Carpenter.
“There are a lot of good pieces coming back, but you can’t replace those three seniors,” Boyle said. “You get new people on board. Every team, every year is different. It will be exciting to see who steps up into those leadership roles.”
Boyle credits the seniors on the squad for their leadership and the chemistry that this team developed under their tutelage which led to the successful year.
“The chemistry on this team and the way that these girls stuck together is a credit to the leadership of the three seniors. Whoever steps into the leadership role is going to have some big shoes to fill. They have established a great tone going forward for this program.”