Tahlequah dropped its regular season home finale Tuesday to Tulsa NOAH, but received good news prior to the match.
The Lady Tigers, who held onto their No. 8 ranking in the final poll released on Monday, learned that they will be hosting a Class 5A Regional Tournament, which will be Monday, Oct. 11 at the Tahlequah Multipurpose Activity Center.
“We were tickled to death to maintain the eight spot, and we hoped the system was the top eight teams hosting, and it was,” Tahlequah head coach Don Ogden said. “Until we got the OSSAA notification today of who was coming and where they were going and it was made official, we didn’t know where we stood. It’s great news to be playing at home.”
It will be the third time in program history that Tahlequah is hosting a regional, the last coming in 2014. The other two times were 2009 and 2013. The Lady Tigers went on to advance to the state tournament each of the three times.
In Tuesday’s loss, the Lady Tigers dropped the opening set (21-25), bounced back to take set two (25-22), fell in the third set (11-25), took set four (25-18) and dropped a 15-17 decision in the final set.
“We knew NOAH was good and they’re good every year,” Ogden said. “I thought our effort was good and the intensity was good. NOAH’s outstanding and has some hitters that are a little above high school level. They hit some good shots on us. We returned the favor and hit some good shots on them. They’re just the kind of team that keeps constant pressure on you, which is what we needed. We didn’t need a soft game, we needed somebody that would test us.”
Senior Dorothy Swearingen and sophomore Kori Rainwater had 13 kills apiece for Tahlequah, who finished with 36 kills on 157 swings. Senior Lola Brownfield (12), Swearingen (11) and senior Lydia McAlvain (10) were each in double figures in digs. McAlvain and Rainwater combined for six of Tahlequah’s eight serve aces.
The Lady Tigers, currently 15-11 on the season, will close the regular season Thursday with a trip to McAlester. They begin Monday’s regional by taking on fourth-seeded Collinsville (10-23) in a 4 p.m. start. No. 3 seed McAlester (13-15) will face second-seeded and ninth-ranked Duncan (22-8) in the following match, and the championship match is scheduled for a 7 p.m. start.