GALION — Highland showed why they‘re considered an elite volleyball program on Thursday evening with a big Mid Ohio Athletic Conference win over Galion. The Lady Scots defeated the Lady Tigers 3-1 to remain undefeated in league play.
Highland (7-1, 5-0 MOAC) and River Valley (6-1, 5-0 MOAC) are now tied for first place in the MOAC with Galion (5-2, 4-1 MOAC) one match back.
In the opening set, the Lady Scots defeated the Lady Tigers 25-15. Highland was dominant after being down 8-7. They would not trail again in that set.
“I think we started off very nervous,” said Galion head coach Kathleen Davis. “Highland has that reputation, they have a very good program. We know (Kendall) Stover hits really hard, we didn’t know how hard. She hits over the block very well. Our defense had to adjust quicker.”
In the second set, Highland was again victorious 25-16. The Lady Scots jumped out to a 10-4 lead and would not look back. Highland’s senior Kendall Stover was very good in this one.
“I told the girls in the huddle, ‘I believe in you, you guys have to believe in yourself. She’s going to get some kills, it’s how we react to the kills,’” Davis explained.
Galion battled back in the third set, keeping the match close as they got the crowd into it. The Lady Tigers would pull the match to 2-1 with a tough 25-23 win. This set was close all the way through, with neither side taking more than a two-point differential.
“It’s exciting. The goal always going in is to win. But to take one set away from Highland shows the girls they can do it and they can compete,” Davis said.
Highland coach Rob Terrill gave Galion credit for keeping the match close.
“Their blocking picked up and we weren’t serving as well,” he said. “Used to you could just roll over teams and that’s the way it was in the league. Now it’s closer together. You take a little bit off and they’re right back in your face.”
The fourth set saw Galion jump out to a quick 7-0 lead. Highland eventually took a 14-13 lead and would not relinquish it. The Lady Tigers kept it close until the Lady Scots eventually won the match by a 25-19 score.
“We’re a veteran team. We just needed to slow things down a little bit,” Terrill said. “We tried to run some faster offense. We’re at like the midpoint of the season so we’re trying to do that a little more. We just need to slow things down and get more control.”
Davis said Highland rejoining the MOAC makes the league stronger and deeper.
“They make the conference a little bit more competitive. Highland has a really good program and we knew it was going to be a tough one tonight,” said Davis.
Terrill said he’s glad to see the depth of talent in the MOAC.
“We knew Galion had won the league the last four years we were out of it. It’s just good competition and that’s what we want to play. Our non-league is almost all D1 because we want competition. We’d rather play like this every night,” Terrill said.
Highland is scheduled to play in the Gilmour Invitational on Saturday. The Lady Scots will play host to River Valley in a huge MOAC showdown on Tuesday.
Follow @BrandonLittleSI on Twitter.