Highland opened the volleyball postseason in fine fashion, cruising to a 25-9, 25-11, 25-11 win over visiting Liberty Union Tuesday.
The Scots got off to a fast start in the first game and never were truly threatened in the match. Bailey Santo scored two points serving to open the game and Bridget Oder added six, as Highland jumped out to a 9-1 advantage.
The team would open up a double-digit lead and then got six Santo points to turn an 18-8 lead into a 24-8 advantage. The Lions would get a stop, but would not score on their possession, as Highland took the opening set.
“I didn’t know much about them other that from their scores, they play hard,” said head coach Rob Terrill. “This gave us an opportunity to get a lot of kids in and if we’d taken tonight off, we’d go 10 days between games.”
The Lions opened the second game by getting two quick points from Claudia Rogers, but Highland got a defensive stop and then added four points from Oder to take the lead. Taylor Belcher added five more points, as the Scots moved out to an 11-3 advantage. Once again, Highland was able to continue pulling away, getting three points from Ashton Terrill, two from Raina Terry and four from Santo as they took a 25-11 win.
Coach Terrill noted that his team served better against Liberty Union than they had in a few recent matches.
“I didn’t think that towards the end, our serve was where it needed to be,” he said. “We’ve been working on that since then.”
Highland’s defense helped boost them to a lead in the third game, as they didn’t surrender any points to the LU offense in their first eight service attempts. While the Scots didn’t start out as dominant on offense, they got three points from Oder and one from Terry in taking a 10-6 lead.
Santo would then blow the game open, scoring seven straight points — an onslaught from which the Lions would not recover. Liberty Union would only get within a 21-11 margin before a defensive stop and three Terry points finished the game and match.
The coach noted that his team was able to play a lot of athletes, something that he feels will benefit them both this postseason and in future years.
“This gave us time to work on combinations we might need down the road,” he said. “It’s a good workout for us. We’ll lose four seniors, but should have seven to nine letter-winners back. We played 14 tonight, so that will be 10 back. It does mean a lot to get in there. Our seniors do such a great job of setting the tone for what we want this year.”
Belcher tallied eight kills and three aces in the match, while Terrill added seven kills and four aces. Both Krista Walters and Terry had six kills, while both Gena West and Kelsee Bargnesi added three each. Santo tallied six aces.
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS