Tahlequah battled back from a 2-1 deficit but couldn't get past Catoosa Tuesday in a five-set loss at the Tahlequah Multipurpose Activity Center.
The setback ends a four-game win streak for the Lady Tigers, who dropped to 15-10 overall under head coach Don Ogden. Tahlequah is trying to hang on to its No. 8 ranking to secure a host site in the Class 5A Regional Tournament.
Catoosa, ranked fourth in 4A, took the deciding set, 15-3. The Lady Indians, who improved to 26-15, bounced back from an opening set loss (22-25) and won sets two (28-26) and three (25-20). Tahlequah sent the match to a fifth set after winning the fourth set, 25-23.
"Nobody could shake the other team until the fifth set," Ogden said. "It was a really good match. We were sure hoping to get a win tonight, but we came up short. Catoosa deserves a lot of credit. They have a good ball club and they have good tradition.
"Both teams battled and they just kind of jumped on us in the fifth game. I think the 28-26 game…if we could've just snagged that game. I thought we showed some great character to come back and get that game four and give ourselves a chance."
The Lady Tigers had 44 kills on 196 swings. Senior Dorothy Swearingen led with 16 kills on 55 swings, and sophomore Kori Rainwater added 10 kills on 45 swings. Seniors Lola Brownfield and Faith Springwater each finished with six kills.
Swearingen also had a team-high 25 digs and a pair of serve aces. Rainwater led the way with six servce aces, senior Lydia McAlvain had 55 assists, and both Sadie Foster (13) and Brownfield (12) finished in double figures in digs.
Tahlequah will host Tulsa NOAH in its final home outing Tuesday, Oct. 5. They close the regular season with a trip to McAlester Thursday, Oct. 7.