Houston's Amber Sillyman sets the ball Monday night.

Even though it was a loss, Houston volleyball coach Skye Carrasquillo believes her team took steps in a positive direction Tuesday night.

“We stepped up to the level of play we should be at,” Carrasquillo said following a 25-17, 28-26 loss at Mountain Grove. “Now we need to consistently keep that intensity and synergy within our team.”

Carrasquillo felt much better about the loss than the previous night’s defeat against Eminence. Mere minutes after the match — before Hiett Gymnasium had emptied — Carrasquillo had her team back on the court for practice.

“I was disappointed in our play,” she said. “Eminence is a good team. It’s just that we weren’t there.”

Alexa Ichord had six kills and Desiree Venable added four against Mountain Grove. Amber Sillyman handed out 15 assists and freshman Megan Silveus had four blocks.

After a slow start, Houston (9-10-1, 2-1 SCA) led by seven points in the second set. The match was tied at 23, 24, 25 and 26 before Mountain Grove scored consecutive points to win it.

“They played with heart,” Carrasquillo said. “That’s how they need to play every single game, every single set.”

Against Eminence, Ichord had a team-best five kills. Sillyman had seven assists.

Over the weekend, the Lady Tigers finished fourth at the Rolla Tournament. They defeated Mexico, Mo. (25-15, 25-22) and Osage (25-21, 25-15) and split with Rolla (20-25, 25-23). Houston was defeated twice by Rockwood and lost to Rolla in the third-place match.

Last Thursday, the Lady Tigers defeated Salem 25-15, 25-15 inside Hiett Gymnasium.

JUNIOR VARSITY: Kylee Elmore had a team-high seven kills in the JV Lady Tigers’ loss Tuesday at Mountain Grove.

On Monday, Reanna Craig and Bailey Earp had five kills apiece in a 25-9, 25-17 loss to Eminence.

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