By BOB CRAMER
Mustang’s varsity volleyball squad, coming off one of its most thrilling matches of the season, will entertain the rival Yukon Millers at 6 tonight.
The No. 4-ranked Lady Broncos (23-4 overall) are 10-1 this season at the Mustang High School Event Center and will put a seven-match winning streak on the line against No. 15 Yukon (11-15).
Pride and bragging rights for Canadian County’s version of Bedlam will be at stake.
“Like other sports, I think it has been building in volleyball,” Mustang coach Steve Hajek said. “The girls know each other. They’re our neighbor, and you want to shine against them.”
Hajek is 2-1 against Yukon and Miller coach Rachel Allred during his tenure.
Mustang, which rose one spot this week in the state coaches’ poll, also takes a 9-2 COAC mark into the Yukon match as the race for the conference title goes down to the wire.
“Yukon versus Mustang is definitely a huge, longtime rivalry, no matter what the sport or activity is,” said Allred, in her eighth year as the Millers’ coach. “… That makes it more emotional for the players than most games because school pride is on the line, along with bragging rights.”
On Sept. 13-14, Yukon captured the title of the Bartlesville Tournament, a high point for the team.
“One of our highlights of the season so far has been going 5-0 at the Bartlesville Tournament to win the championship,” Allred said.
Allred said four seniors — outside hitter Brianna Worth, libero Baylie Thiel, defensive specialist Gabbi Mobarak and setter Hattie Hughs — have been key players.
Two juniors, outside hitter Addison Wimmer and setter Kashlie Vo, also have provided quality minutes.
BIG MUSTANG WIN
The Lady Broncos won perhaps their most exhilarating match of the season Sept. 26 against then-No. 4-rated Norman North, 25-17, 23-25, 26-24, 25-23.
“Our girls are fighters and don’t give up,” Hajek said, repeating a seasonal theme. “We’ve been making good comebacks and adjustments. You have to be excited as a coach when your team can do that.”
The Lady Broncos closed out the match against Norman North (now 20-8) by twice winning two-point sets.
“The whole team played well,” Hajek said. “Ruby (Kelley), Madlyn Booth, Madi (Hajek) and Casady (McKinney) all played good games.
“I’m particularly impressed with Casady right now. She’s a young setter but has made great progress the past month,” he said of the sophomore.
Mustang has won 20 of its last 22 matches with only a home-court loss to No. 7 Deer Creek on Sept. 3 and road defeat to No. 1 Edmond North on Sept. 19 marring that span.
“It’s important to maintain that,” coach Hajek added. “For our girls, getting to state is the main goal.”
Mustang has a road match with Southmoore at 6 p.m. Monday and a home contest against Midwest City at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the upcoming schedule.