Lady Knights and Lady Hawks emerge from county rivalry game having gotten better

Sarah Anderson gets down low for a dig during West Holmes' win over Hiland on August 25.

For a volleyball match that only went three games, there sure was a lot of positives to take for both West Holmes and Hiland in the cross county rivalry game Thursday, Aug. 25 at the Reese Center at Hiland High School.

The Lady Knights won the match 25-14, 25-22 and 25-19, but the score was almost secondary to the value both teams felt they received following the entertaining match.

For West Holmes it was the first time they have secured a victory in less than five games, something head coach Savannah Moore has been waiting for her team to accomplish for some time.

“That was nice to put someone away in three instead of going five,” Moore said. “I thought we did a good job of staying cool, calm and collected. We didn’t play really clean, and we didn’t get it taken care of when we had our chances, but it was about not getting flustered in those moments, and it was good to see our kids get challenged and figure things out.”

For the Lady Hawks, simply being in all three games against a team that has dominated them severely over the past many matches was something head coach Adri Bryk said would only serve as encouragement for her young team.

So everyone seemed to be going home fairly happy, and at the same time both coaches said there was plenty of room for improvement, something they both believe will take place over the course of the season.

“We are very proud of the way the girls played tonight,” Bryk said of her team. “We’ve come a long way already over the course of the summer, and they put up a tremendous fight against West Holmes, a program that has beat us up pretty good in recent years.”

The Lady Hawks fell behind early in all three games and only led one time at 1-0. However, each time they looked to be done, they fought and clawed their way back into contention.

A 6-0 run by West Holmes ended game one with Sarah Anderson serving the Lady Knights to victory including pounding home a pair of aces.

Game two saw West Holmes bolt to an 8-2 lead on the strength of the front-line play of Lauren Park and Sam Hall, but five straight service points from Kim Miller got Hiland back in the game at 8-6. West Holmes would again forge a lead at 13-8, but again Hiland would scrap its way back into contention when Madisynn Bryk recorded a kill and Miller dinked one across.

Suddenly it was tied at 14. At that point Park simply took over, drilling four kills amidst a 7-0 West Holmes run that put them in command 21-14.

Hiland fought back, getting kills from Bryk, Miller and Nikki Overholt, and when Brittany Wengerd aced the lady Knights, it was 23-21.

However, Makena Mulhall got a huge block, and Hall came up with a clean kill to give the Lady Knights the win.

Game three saw West Holmes again bolt out to an early lead at 7-1, and just as before Hiland came marching back. When Sydney Yoder recorded two straight aces, West Holmes’ lead was down to 8-7.

Hall and Kacie Leppla then took command with Leppla putting the ball where it needed to be for West Holmes to attack.

Leppla’s impressive dink into no-man’s-land gave West Holmes a 17-12 edge, but Hiland simply wouldn’t give in and crept back to within 20-18, but it never got any closer as the Lady Knights closed things down in three games.

For Moore the win in three was nice, but she said what the coaches want now is to put teams away when they get up early. In all three games Hiland kept coming back, and she would love to see her team put things away.

“We are getting better and learning something different every game, but we aren’t even close to where we want to be yet, and we talked about that after the game,” Moore said. “We won in three, but we aren’t satisfied. We have to learn to stay focused and take care of business when we have the opportunity because teams like Hiland can be the scariest because they don’t have anything to lose and are going to play all out and scrappy like they did tonight. They are young, but they really played hard and never gave up.”

Park paced all hitters with 23 kills, five aces, four blocks and five digs while Kacie Leppla tacked on 36 assists and Kylie Leppla added four kills and 13 digs. Hall recorded kills and two blocks, and MaKena Mulhall and Sarah Anderson pitched in with three aces and six digs.

Hiland was paced by Kim Miller, who recorded eight kills, two aces and seven assists. Jasmine Hershey had six digs while Sydney Yoder had seven points and four aces. Wengerd had five digs, and Mya Blochlinger and Bryk both recorded four kills.

Coach Bryk said just as her Lady Hawks had gained an immense amount of confidence in their season-opening three-game victory over Loudonville, this too would serve as a confidence builder in a different way.

“The girls were upset that we didn’t win because they want to win every game,” Bryk said, “But we told them this was a great effort against a great program. Loudonville was OK, but to play somebody like this with a great player like Park and to be competitive all night against them is something we should be proud of. We stuck with it and never gave up, so I think this will serve as a confidence builder as much as our win.”

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *