CHANUTE — For the second match in a row, the Labette Cardinals were swept by the 18th-ranked team in the nation.

Labette lost to No. 18 Neosho County 3-0 (25-14, 25-12, 25-19) a week removed from a three-set loss to then-No. 18 Highland.

“We didn’t pass well enough to run and execute our offense like we normally do,” Labette interim head coach Deardin Kelley said — Haley Miller, Labette’s full-time head coach, missed the match due to a family emergency. 

“Our block got lost with the fast offense Neosho County runs,” Kelley said. “It’s hard for our defense to get set when the block can’t keep up.” 

After starting the season 2-2, the Cardinals have now lost six of its last seven matches. The loss to Neosho County was the first time Labette had taken the court since losing to Highland, a match that featured set losses by scores of 25-5 and 25-2. 

“I feel like the wind is taken out of our sails, especially after a loss like that,” Kelley said. “We still need to find a way to play our game.” 

Alyssa Hunter led Neosho County with 14 kills, while Hannah Brisco added eight for the Panthers.

Katie Bitner paced the Cardinals with 11 kills. Maci Bohannon had 10 of Labette’s 19 total assists  while Jordan Johnson led with 13 digs. 

Kelley went bold with lineup changes in the third set, Labette’s most competitive. The Cardinals swapped liberos while Bailey Corbett, Labette’s kill leader going into the match, stayed on the sidelines.

“I feel like the wind is taken out of our sails, especially after a loss like that,” Kelley said. “We still need to find a way to play our game.” 

Neosho County improved to 2-1 overall and 2-1 in KJCCC play with the win over the Cardinals.

“I thought things went well,” said Neosho County head coach Marisa Compton. “I thought we did a good job of taking care of things on our side. I thought our kids that came in in the second and third sets did a good job of subbing in and taking care of the job, so we didn’t have much drop off from one group to the next.”

Labette, which dropped to 3-8 overall and 0-3 in KJCCC action, travels to Coffeyville for three matches on Saturday against Oklahoma Wesleyan JV, Coffeyville and Southeast.

“It’s a good opportunity for redemption,” Kelley said. “We scrimmaged against Coffeyville and lost in five. We played Southeast earlier and lost in four. It’s a redemption weekend to snake some people.” 

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