For the Highland volleyball team, moving back into the MOAC after spending the previous four years in the KMAC wound up being a case of “new league, same result”.
The Scots capped off a perfect 14-0 league season (18-4 overall) by defeating Clear Fork 25-11, 25-6, 25-9 at home on Tuesday. That win also took place on Senior Night, when the team honored Ashlynn Belcher, Kyleigh Stiltner, Kendall Stover, Brylinn Tuggle and Emma West — a class currently possessing an 89-13 varsity record.
“It’s very satisfying,” said head coach Rob Terrill of his team picking up another league trophy. “The girls worked awfully hard. Being out of the MOAC for four years, none of these girls had been in the MOAC. They knew Galion had won it four years in a row and wanted to throw themselves into the mix.”
Since the 2012 season, Highland has put together a 125-match winning streak against league foes — one of the best winning streaks in the history of Ohio volleyball. Cincinnati Wyoming is second on the list with 126 consecutive wins, while Dublin Coffman holds the top spot with 145. The coach attributes this to the desire of his players to maintain that success over the years.
“Our program is a very proud program,” he said. “We make sure we pay it forward. The girls help out with the little kids because they were the little kids once. One thing — we play a lot of kids, so we have a lot of letter-winners every year.”
Against Clear Fork, the Scots dominated by going on lengthy runs whenever it seemed the Colts were getting a little traction.
Clear Fork held an early lead in the first set at 6-5, but Highland quickly turned a close contest into an easy win. Kyleigh Stiltner and Emma West both scored four points, while Alexis Eusey added two and Ashlynn Belcher tallied six straight as the Scots finished the set with a 20-5 run.
Serving runs also paced the Scots to easy wins in the second and third sets. Holding a 5-3 lead in the second, the tam got seven straight from Belcher. With the score 16-5, Kami Stover added another seven and the Scots would finish on top 25-6.
Highland fell into an early 7-4 deficit in the third, but bounced back to finish the game on a 21-2 run, getting nine points from Stiltner and nine more from West to close out the match.
“One thing we did last season, I didn’t think at the end we were serving the way Highland is accustomed to,” said Terrill. “We got on some serving runs and got them out of their system.”
Winning another league title gives Highland one of their major goals for the season. Next up, they’ll aim to meet another goal by taking a district title.
“The girls work awfully hard to be sure they’re in position to accomplish those goals,” said the coach. “I think our non-league schedule sets us up for the tournament. We fill our schedule with competitive Division I and II teams. We’ve beat some ranked teams and got beat by some ranked teams.”
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS