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Bell City lost to the eventual champion at the B.A. Sports Volleyball Classic.
Bell City's run at the 18th annual B.A. Sports Volleyball Classic may have ended in the semifinal round on Saturday, but that finish was more than enough to impress coach Erin Hoffman.
"I really feel like we improved every game," Hoffman said of her team's play at the Student Recreation Center on the campus of Southeast Missouri State
The Cubs, after winning the consolation bracket at last year's tournament, finished second in Pool C to make it into the winner's bracket. Bell City's only loss in pool play came to defending champion Lindbergh.
From there, the Cubs had to face three straight defending district champions. Bell City knocked off Bismarck, a Class 2 quarterfinalist last year, in the first round of the winner's bracket 25-16, 25-21. In the quarterfinals, Bell City defeated defending Class 1 District 1 champion South Iron 25-20, 25-19.
It wasn't until a semifinal matchup against defending Class 4 District 1 champion Farmington that the Cubs met their match. Farmington used a distinctive size advantage to defeat Bell City 25-14, 25-17.
"I was just happy we were able to give Farmington a good game," Hoffman said. "I'm really proud of the girls. I had three sophomores and a freshman on the floor."
Bell City was competitive early on in both sets against Farmington, but the Knightettes' main hitters eventually put the match away. Farmington junior Megan Bess almost single-handedly won the opening set, and Bess and Sydney Winslow combined to push Farmington ahead in the second set.
"I was really surprised at how many times we blocked them," Hoffman said.
Farmington went on to win the championship 25-23, 25-16 over Lindbergh. Kennett won the consolation bracket 25-14, 25-19 over Gideon.
For Bell City, the semifinal appearance was the best performance by the Cubs in the B.A. Classic, according to Hoffman. Bell City improved to 10-3-1 overall.
"I do feel like we're at a further point than I thought we would be at this time," Hoffman said.
Eight area teams made it through to the winner's bracket. Of those eight squads, only Jackson, St. Vincent and Bell City moved on to the quarterfinals.
Jackson fell to Lindbergh in the quarterfinals 25-19, 25-13, and St. Vincent lost to Farmington in the quarterfinals 25-19, 25-17.
No area team advanced past the quarterfinals in the consolation bracket.
Area pool winners included Jackson, Perryville, Notre Dame and St. Vincent. Jackson finished 4-0 in Pool D, including a dominant 25-19, 25-7 win over last year's Class 1 runner-up Gideon.
Notre Dame and Perryville each won three pool matches and split one.