By R. Alan Richarsdon
The Morgan County Middle School volleyball team tacked on two wins to their record going 2-0 against Westminster Middle School under the guidance of Coach Alan Shultz last week. A strong service game from all of the players and great team play helped lead to the wins. The squad was also strong at the net.
Westminster took the lead at 1-0 before Anna Cox ripped three serves that gave the Lady Dogs a 3-1 advantage. The Lions roared back to tie it at three all before Emma Silvey on serve, Cameron Osborne at the net, and Cox at service began to assert themselves to take a commanding 17-12 lead.
The Lions kept it close late in the match, but the Lady Dogs prevailed in the set on the play of Gracie Christian, Silvey (both with spikes), Osborne’s service game, and Cox (final point with no return). The first set final was 25-19 Morgan County.
The Lady Dogs wasted no time in the second set taking a 10-1 lead early. Silvey was unstoppable when she was serving. Her unreturnable bullets resulted in eight straight points before Westminster could stop the bleeding. The closest the Lady Lions came after that was at 19-9. Brooke Butler played a key role late scoring three straight points, but the service game was the difference in the play of the two teams. The final set ended 25-13.
The second match pitted both teams’ second squads against one another and Morgan came away with another 2-0 victory. The Lady Dogs took a 25-19, 25-16 win
Coach Shultz said after the second match, “The girls played similar to the first squad. We were a little slow out of the gate and then finished strong. In each match Monday, after winning the first set with a little lackluster effort, I challenged our girls to “Play the second set as clean as possible and show the fans their best.” Both squads did a nice job of limiting their mistakes and finishing strong. The second squad was led by Lizzy Day who served well in both sets and Melanie Howard who also had a good day at the service line.”
The Lady Dogs turned around and played St. Joseph’s out of Athens on the road on Wednesday taking the win in three sets. After losing the first set 25-15, the team rallied to take the next one 25-15 and the tiebreaker set 15-4.
Shultz commented, “They had a young squad and we underestimated them a bit. They were very consistent at keeping the ball in play and getting their serves in. After losing a couple of early points due to being called for rotation mistakes in our serve receive alignments, we proceeded to lose the first set 15-25. We were caught off guard by St. Joseph’s scrappy play and very raucous home crowd. Once we settled down, we started playing well and really made it tough on them with some great serving by our girls. Emma Silver and Gracie Christian each had some long service runs. Brooke Butler also had a couple of nice kills and kept one point alive with a clutch left handed hit (she’s a righty). After we jumped on them in the beginning of set two, we really cooled the crowd down and that helped our girls focus on the game. We got great contributions from the whole squad and showed some growth by playing through adversity that might have gotten the best of us earlier in the season.”
According to Shultz, in the second match with St. Joseph’s, the second squad did a good job of keeping the momentum on Morgan’s side. The second squad played a nice match with few unforced errors. Addy Christian had two good service runs and did a solid job setting in the second match. Sam Crawley also served well and had some great hustle plays.