Verona's Jori Dodson put on a volleyball clinic at the Purdy gymnasium last night and led the Lady Wildcats to a straight-set victory over the home team, 25-18 and 25-15. With 18 kills to her credit, plus service aces to close out both sets, Dodson displayed superlative skills on the court.
In another area contest, Pierce City was defeated by Lamar in non-conference play.
Since dropping their season opener to Hurley, Verona has rolled to a 3-1 varsity record.
"We're pretty good," said Verona's Brad Stewart, "we just need more attitude."
The Lady Eagles, still seeking their first victory, played with spirit and determination against a dominant foe. Purdy bolted out of the gate to a 3-0 lead to start the opening set, as Tristan Branch -- listed simply as "Tree" in the game programs -- ripped an ace past the Verona front line.
Dodson answered with three consecutive smashes to tie the contest. Purdy managed ties at 5,6, 8 and 9 and forged a 12-10 lead behind back-to-back winners from Branch. Dodson smoked another kill for the 12-12 tie, and then Verona opened a two-point gap at 16-14.
Purdy managed the last tie of the game at 16 when Branch desperately fisted a no-look effort over the net for a clean winner. Dodson and Jessica Smith combined for six more kills to reach 23-18 in favor of Verona, and then Dodson aced a pair of serves to clinch the first set.
The second set mirrored the first as the squads fought to an 11-11 tie. From that juncture, Dodson laid five more kills on the Lady Eagles and again aced the final serve, and Verona owned the set and the match with the 25-15 final.
The Purdy JV squad won a hard-fought three-set match to begin the night: 25-23, 25-27 and 25-20.
Both schools will play in the Verona Tournament on Saturday. The play-in round will be split between the Verona and Purdy gyms to keep teams from having to play into the late evening, and the finals will be held on the Lady Wildcats court.
Pierce City lost to the host Tigers by scores of 25-23, 18-25 and 17-25.
Statistical leaders for Pierce City were Megan Golubski with 16 assists, and Kaelyn Osborn with 11 kills, two blocks and 10 digs.