Tahlequah Daily Press

Sports

October 2, 2012

Lady Tigers set to begin postseason play

Looking for its first state-tournament berth since 2009, Tahlequah probably would have preferred a trip away from Cascia Hall.

Yet, no such luck.

If Tahlequah’s volleyball team is to punch its ticket to the final weekend of the season, it will have to likely go through the reigning Class 5A state champions.

“We’ve got an extremely tough regional,” Tahlequah coach Don Ogden said. “But to get a chance to play (Cascia Hall), we have to take care of business to get into the regional championship game.”

Very true.

Tahlequah, ranked 11th in 5A while owning a 27-11 mark, will open up postseason play against Edison at the Cascia Hall regional on Tuesday. Third-ranked Cascia Hall will take on McAlester in opening game of the semifinals at 4 p.m. Tahlequah will play Edison, and the winners of both matches will square off in the finals.

Tahlequah will enter the playoffs having won nine of its past 11 matches. The Lady Tigers went 2-0 — with one of the wins against Edison — last week ahead of this week’s regional.

However, the Lady Tigers are a tad bit gimpy during the season’s stretch run. Several Tahlequah players have been hampered by injuries or illnesses, according to Ogden.

“We are trying to get our health back now,” said Ogden, who highlighted the team’s status with Gillian Tinnin missing the last 11 games with an undisclosed injury. “Casey Beaston was extremely under the weather at Sapulpa [on Thursday].”

As of Monday afternoon, Ogden said he was still waiting to find out the condition of some of his players.

“I’m waiting to check on our health status,” he said. “Lately though, we’ve kind of patched it up and had some players step in. But we’d like to have everyone at full strength.”

If Tahlequah and Cascia Hall end up playing in the finals, it would be a matchup of teams that have not faced one another this season.

“I’ve seen them on video, but I have not seen them in person,” Ogden said. “They’re extremely good up the middle; that’s their strength.

“It’s going to take a real good defensive effort to beat them, but that’s why they’re the defending state champions.”

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