TULSA — Claremore opened the volleyball season with a four-set defeat against the Lincoln Christian Lady Bulldogs on Monday night.
The first two sets were tight, but Lincoln Christian took both, 25-22 and 25-21. Claremore rallied and won set three, 25-16, but then dropped the fourth set, 25-18.
The defending Class 3A state champion Lady Bulldogs (1-0) have moved up to 4A this season.
The next action for the Lady Zebras (0-1) will be Thursday at Collinsville. Start time will be at about 6:30 p.m.
Brooke Jones and Maddie Hardage finished the match with 15 and seven kills, respectively, for Claremore.
The Lady Zebras, however, had their share of struggles overall.
"We came out low energy and our passing hurt us a lot," Claremore coach Victoria Giron said. "We had way too many serving errors and should have done better on serve receive. Lincoln had great serves, but my girls shouldn’t have had that many mistakes."
Claremore got the opening point of the match, but its only other lead of the first set came at 8-7. Lincoln Christian scored two-straight points to break a 9-9 tie.
The Lady Zebras fought back though and drew even at 20-20 thanks in part to a winner from Hailey Charles. The Lady Bulldogs eventually prevailed, though.
Claremore opened the second set with the first point as well. The Lady Zebras managed to hold the lead for a good chunk of the frame.
Claremore had a 16-14 advantage, but Lincoln Christian countered with six-consecutive points and eventually took the set on a Bayleigh Smith kill.
Hardage provided solid all-around play in the second set, and Jones then got the Zebras off to a 4-0 start in the third set with strong serving.
Claremore never trailed in the third set thanks in large part to strong defense from the duo of Hailey Grant and Riley Renfroe.
The Lady Bulldogs opened up the fourth set with four-straight points behind the strong serving of Eva Trompler. The Lady Zebras, however, continued to battle.
Claremore tied things at 13-13 on a Jones kill and then took the lead on the next point. Strong serving from Makyla Salcido also keyed that surge.
Lincoln Christian, however, got the next three points and pulled away steadily from there en route to the victory.
"I think we will be able to get it together as soon as we can all start connecting and feeling together," Giron said. "We saw flashes of it tonight but need to see more of it on a consistent basis. I think the girls did come out a little hesitant, but hopefully we have the first game jitters out of the way now."