For much of the first set Tuesday, Highland and Galion were playing a pretty even volleyball contest. And then they weren’t.
The Scots finished the first set on a run to turn a 16-14 score into a 25-16 victory. From there, they took the momentum and ran to wins of 25-8 and 25-9 in the next two sets to finish with a 3-0 win over the Tigers — the only team to win a set from Highland in MOAC play so far this year.
While Highland won that previous match with Galion 3-1, head coach Rob Terrill was pleased that his players maintained a high level of play throughout the night.
“The girls did a great job,” he said. “They carried out the game plan well. We wanted to take them out of their system and I think we did with our serving. We wanted to make sure we didn’t let up and the girls did a fantastic job.”
While Highland never trailed in the first set, Galion played them closely for much of the action. However, after a point by Kaya Capretta brought the Tigers within a 16-14 margin, the Scots took control of the match.
After getting a defensive point, the team picked up four straight scores off the serving of Ashlynn Belcher. Emma West added two more scores and Highland pulled away to take a 1-0 lead in the match.
Three points from Zoya Winkelfoos opened the second set for Highland. Galion would get within a 4-3 score after a point from Ady Monk, but they would not be able to get over the hump.
Things would quickly snowball for the Tigers. Trailing 7-4, they watched Highland get three points from Belcher, four from West, two from Larsen Terrill and four by Winkelfoos. Meanwhile, the Scot defense wasn’t allowing Galion to get any offense from their serve, allowing them to jump in front by a 23-8 margin in a set they would win 25-8.
Galion coach Kathleen Davis felt her team was out of sync and needs to get back on the same page quickly.
“I think we need to get back on the bus and get rolling,” she said. “We have a lot of small mistakes that build up and lead to big mistakes. It did not help we had as many errors as we did. I think we need to come together as a team and fix some small things, try to fight back and get into a groove.”
Highland would finish the match by running away with the third set. Holding a 4-1 lead after a pair of points on the serve of Winkelfoos, the team opened up a big lead after Alexis Eusey served for seven straight scores. The team would build on that 11-1 advantage and closed out the match on four straight points served by Camryn Miller.
For Highland, Kendall Stover tallied 20 kills, while West and Brooke Schott had five each and Belcher finished with 32 assists. Terrill felt his team had a strong overall effort — something that pleased him because they are in the middle of a tough stretch that opened Saturday with a home loss to Division I Watkins Memorial.
“This is a tough eight-day stretch,” he said. “We had Watkins Memorial on Saturday and then Galion tonight, then River Valley Thursday and finally Bishop Hartley Saturday. That’s an awesome four games in eight days and four great teams.”
Davis also will see her Tiger squad be really busy in the near future, making it important that losses like Tuesday’s don’t linger.
“We have six games in seven days, so we have to get on the bus quickly,” she said. “We’re going to adjust quickly. We have practice tomorrow to work on a few things.”
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS