West Holmes Volleyball

Bulldogs upend Lady Knights as inconsistencies haunt West Holmes

Inconsistencies continue to haunt the West Holmes Lady Knights, and when you’re playing quality opponents like the Lady Knights have done in their opening three matches, it is going to bite you. The Lady Knights have yet to string together a consistent match as they fell to 0-3 with a loss to Dalton on Saturday, Aug. 26 at West Holmes High School.

Dalton pulled off a 25-17, 15-25, 25-14, 25-22 win to keep West Holmes winless on the season, and they did so with a solid team effort. Meanwhile the Lady Knights’ inconsistencies continued to haunt them as unforced errors played a big role in the loss.

“That is a huge controllable that we need to get better at,” West Holmes head coach Savannah Moore said. “We had a ton of service errors today. We are an aggressive serving team, but there is a happy medium that comes with trying to score off of your serves. We are serving for aces, but there comes a point where you have to make the ball playable. That was really frustrating.”

Dalton got off to a nice start to the day and drove home, having won in a place where wins have been tough to come by over the years.

“It’s nice having West Holmes as one of our first games because it is a program that really helps us get better,” Dalton head coach Allison Hostetler said. “At this point in the year, our girls are just ready to start playing meaningful games. It seems like practice went on forever, and we were able to come out and play some pretty good volleyball and get out of here with a win.”

The first two games of the day were mirror images with each team claiming an easy win. In game one Dalton came out fast, taking leads of 7-3 and 12-5. Dalton got a big boost from senior Kirsten Shoup, who was dominating the net for the Bulldogs, and her kill eventually led to the 25-17 win.

The Lady Knights turned the table in game two when they bolted to a quick 5-1 advantage and never looked back. Dalton crept to within 6-5, but a couple of kills from Abbie Allison gave West Holmes a 9-5 lead. Lauren Park took over the game down the stretch and was completely unstoppable in paving the way for a 25-16 win.

Dalton’s Cortney Carathers played the offensive hero in game three, scoring on a huge hit and then recording a pair of aces to help Dalton push out to a 6-2 lead, but it was the defense of sophomore Kelsey Shoup that made the biggest difference. Three times during that stretch Park hit three monster shots that Kelsey Shoup somehow managed to dig up and keep alive with Dalton eventually earning the point. She continued to do that throughout the contest, and it made her head coach extremely happy.

“She’s a great passer, and she finally got herself in the best possible position to defend Lauren,” Hostetler said of her libero. “She was able to get those digs up on some massive hits, and that really helped turn the momentum in our favor. Those were not easy plays, but they were definitely game changers.”

“Those plays were big,” Moore said. “They are plays that feel like we are going to win a point, and then she (Kelsey Shoup) kept making big digs. Give her credit for that because those were shots that Lauren hit.”

Trailing 13-6, West Holmes crept back to within 14-10, a run that included a sensational diving play by Sarah Anderson, but every time West Holmes threatened, Kelsey Shoup came up with another big dig to keep her team on top, and eventually Dalton cruised to an easy win.

Game four proved to be to tightest game of the day. The two teams battled to a 7-7 tie after Lady Knight Colista Gamerstsfelder came up with a big block. Carathers would end a four-point run for Dalton with a kill, but West Holmes responded with four straight to tie it, Park getting two kills.

However, a 6-1 Dalton run would put the Bulldogs ahead for good, but not without some scary moments as West Holmes threatened. And it would be Park who would lead the comeback bid.

Trailing 23-19 after a Carathers kill, Park put together a string of three kills and a service ace around a kill from Dalton’s Kennedi Siders to get the Lady Knights within 24-22, but Dalton would end the game on the next point to move to 2-0 on the year.

“We have to stay positive,” Moore said. “We can make errors, but we have to be able to look past them and stay confident. We just failed to put together rallies because of our service issues, and we gave up a couple of bigger runs that put us in the hole. I am proud of the way we are working. They are working their tails off, and I am really anxious to get that first win for these girls. Once we put it together, we’ll be OK.”

Kirsten Shoup paced Dalton with 16 kills while Siders and Carathers both recorded eight kills. Abby Gregory doled out 36 assists. Shoup collected a dozen digs, many of them in the pivotal game three, and Darian Fiesler had 11 service points.

“Both Kirsten and Cortney stayed aggressive at the net all day today,” Hostetler said of her two seniors. “They were able to mix up their shots, and they pushed deep corners really well.”

Leading the way for West Holmes was Park, who had an outstanding day with 20 kills, five digs, three aces and eight service points. Other key players were Anderson with 27 assists and 12 digs, Yeager with nine digs, Regan Wilcox with seven assists and four kills, Emily Anderson with 13 digs, and Nadia Rouse with seven digs.

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