Highland cruised to victory in their first KMAC volleyball match of the season, topping visiting East Knox by scores of 25-3, 25-5 and 25-9 on Thursday.

In improving to 2-0, 1-0 in league play, head coach Rob Terrill said it’s just nice being able to be back out on the floor and competing.

“Just to get a home win,” he said. “Everything is so different, so if we get a home match in and get a semblance of normalcy, that’s big.”

The Scots had no trouble winning the first game, jumping out to a 19-1 lead and not letting up in winning 25-3. The second game proved to me more of the same.

Makenna Belcher opened with six straight points and with a 7-1 lead, the Scots got seven by Ashlynn Belcher to go in front by a 14-1 margin. Leading 16-4, the team then picked up five points from Kendall Stover and three from Zoya Winkelfoos to lead them to a 2-0 lead in the match.

Terrill said that his team did a good job of staying focused in the match, noting that they are working some new things on offense which helped in that regard.

“We’ve been trying to speed our offense up a little bit,” he said. “We’re getting better at it. I think that helped them focus a bit.”

East Knox was able to keep it close for a little while in the third game. While Stover scored once and Abby Eusey scored three times for Highland, the Bulldogs got a pair of points from Ellie Hagy in keeping within an 8-6 margin.

However, another extended scoring run by the Scots turned that two-point advantage into a commanding lead. Winkelfoos scored sixth straight points to make it 14-6 and with it 15-7, the team got five straight from Emma West to get five points away from victory. Two defensive points, two from Makenna Belcher and one from Stover put the finishing touches on the match for Highland.

Despite losing some key players from last year’s state runner-up team, Terrill feels he has a strong squad with five letter-winners and 10 girls who saw varsity action back. He added that they worked hard during the summer to improve their athleticism.

“We did a jump program this summer and the girls increased their jumping. We have four girls going 9’6” to 9’7” and that the first time we’ve had four girls in that range. The average girl increased three or four inches this summer. They did a lot of virtual workouts together and it paid off. I think we’re more athletic and if we get the speed, I think we’ll do good things.”

In the win over East Knox, Highland got 10 kills and four aces from Stover, while Ashlynn Belcher picked up nine aces and three kills. Seniors Makenna Belcher, Eusey and Cassady Sagar all had five kills and Winklefoos tallied three aces.

The team has had some recent schedule changes. Highland’s current upcoming schedule is at Big Walnut on Saturday, home with Buckeye Valley on Monday, home with St. Francis DeSales on Tuesday and at Cardington on Thursday.

Ashlynn Belcher sets the ball for Highland in their three-game win over visiting East Knox on Thursday.
https://www.morrowcountysentinel.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/29/2020/08/web1_ashlynnbelcher3.jpgAshlynn Belcher sets the ball for Highland in their three-game win over visiting East Knox on Thursday. Rob Hamilton | Morrow County Sentinel

Highland’s Kendall Stover serves against East Knox Thursday.
https://www.morrowcountysentinel.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/29/2020/08/web1_kendallstover.jpgHighland’s Kendall Stover serves against East Knox Thursday. Rob Hamilton | Morrow County Sentinel

By Rob Hamilton

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Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS