The Highland volleyball team reached its eighth district final contest in the past nine years on Wednesday by dismantling Granville at Licking Heights High School by scores of 25-15, 25-7 and 25-9.
While head coach Rob Terrill didn’t feel his squad looked all that sharp while warming up, after the first set of their Division II match began, it was a different story.
“I told them the old adage that if you don’t warm up well, you play well in the game and they did,” he said.
Hustle played a huge role in the Scots winning the first set. On multiple occasions, it looked like Granville had a point scored, but the Highland players had no issues with hitting the floor to keep the ball alive, with those efforts often leading to the Scots earning the score.
“The kids worked really hard and we have that ability,” said Terrill. “Just keep the ball alive and good things will happen.”
Two point each by Brylinn Tuggle and Kendall Stover staked Highland to an early 7-3 lead and, with the score 12-9, the team got five in a row from Zoya Winklefoos to jump in front by eight in a set they would win by 10.
Unfortunately for Granville, that was as close as they would get to picking up a game against Highland. In the second and third games, the Scot serving proved to be dominating.
“I think we had 17 aces,” said Terrill. “I thought we kept good pressure on them. We pushed them deep in the court.”
That serving led to an easy set two win. Winklefoos scored the game’s first five ponts and was followed by three from Tuggle, five from Stover and two by Ashlynn Belcher to stake the Scots to an 18-3 lead in a game they won handily.
The third set was more of the same. While Granville did score four straight points after Winklefoos boosted the Scots to a 5-0 lead with four points off her serve, they would not get any closer than a 5-4 score.
Highland would get a defensive point and then three from Tuggle. With the score 11-6, the Scots received four points from Belcher and the duo of Emma West and Camryn Miller tallied five more as Highland opened up a 22-7 lead and quickly wound up with a 3-0 sweep in the match.
On the night, Stover had 12 kills, while Kameron Stover added six, Brooke Schott and West both tallied five and Ashlynn Belcher and Larsen Terrill finished with four. Belcher added four aces, Tuggle had six and Winkelfoos picked up three.
Highland will next play Bloom-Carroll on Saturday in a bid to reach the regional semifinals. The Bulldogs outlasted Hamilton Township in five sets in the night’s first match.
“They keep the ball alive,” Terrill said of Bloom-Carroll. “They go pin to pin and hustle.”
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS