Even though Buckeye Trail’s volleyball team has lost a number of key contributors from last season’s district runner-up team, it didn’t mean the Hiland Lady Hawks volleyball team didn’t have a bit of a chip on their shoulders as they met the Warriors at Hiland High School on Tuesday, Sept. 11.
Buckeye Trail was the team that ended the Lady Hawks’ fantastic season last year in the district tournament in a five-game thrill ride, so people can excuse Hiland for being more than a tad fired up to meet the Warriors, who are still a formidable foe despite the losses from last season’s roster.
Hiland won a competitive game one and then took it to Buckeye Trail to post a 25-19, 25-8, 25-15 victory to improve to 8-1 on the season.
“We were looking forward to this game since last year,” setter Kim Miller said. “We played together and did a lot of things right tonight. We wanted this one a lot because they beat us last year in tournaments. That was our mind-set coming in, and we didn’t have a problem getting pumped up for this one.”
Head coach Adri Bryk was excited to see her team continue to play strong on both offense and defense, especially in the serving area where Hiland has been extremely strong this season.
Bryk said they had a chance to see Buckeye Trail play this summer, and although they had suffered a number of losses from graduation, having big and hard-hitting Sam Tanner crushing peas at them is a test they enjoyed facing.
She said they saw during the summer that Buckeye Trail was not the same team it was a year ago but also said summer ball can be deceiving because teams don’t always have all of their weapons available to them. Then there are the crushing displays put on by Tanner, who can frighten any team with her slugging kills.
“She’s a great player,” Bryk said of Tanner. “She killed us last year, so stopping her was a big part of the game plan coming in.”
Bryk went on to talk about how this Buckeye Trail team has become a rival for Hiland, and it hasn’t taken long. The two teams have been extremely competitive during their stints in the IVC South, and Bryk said that has helped prepare her team for the rigors of a terrific IVC South division that also features Indian Valley, Claymont, Garaway and Ridgewood, among others.
“One year and they have become a huge rival for us,” Bryk said with a laugh. “Our girls were really excited about tonight. After we lost to Indian Valley, we knew we had to go into every game with a purpose, knowing we had to win to keep pace in the league. Every game in the league is big because the IVC is so deep and strong. It was nice to see us come out and perform tonight.”
Kim Miller recorded 27 assists and 10 service points including a stunning seven aces. Amanda Troyer added 10 digs, and Jasmine Hershey and Sydney Yoder both tallied nine digs. Mya Blochlinger recorded a game-high 11 kills for Hiland while Maddie Yoder added seven kills and 10 service points including six aces.
The Hiland JV team certainly set the tone for the night by thumping Buckeye Trail 25-6, 25-7 as the junior Lady Hawks continue to produce great numbers this year.
“We’ve got a really nice group of younger kids coming up through the program, which is really exciting to see,” Bryk said.