Highland’s Division II sectional final volleyball contest against visiting Beechcroft could best be described as short and sweet for the Scots.
Highland wasted little time in dispatching the Cougars by scores of 25-3, 25-3 and 25-5 to reach districts for the 10th straight year. Head coach Rob Terrill noted that the contest was a great opportunity for his players to fine-tune a few things for tougher opponents down the road.
“We know that we’re probably better than them, so there’s things we need to continue to work on,” he said. “We knew we could work on serves and serve receiving. We knew we could work on transitions. That was our focus tonight.”
With two straight easy sectional wins, the coach added that, while his team could have taken a bye on Monday, he preferred having the competition — both to work on things and to allow the younger players to see varsity tournament action.
“It’s good to get a lot of kids playing time,” he said. “We had two that are injured, so we got 13 in the game and that’s critical for those younger kids. These couple weeks, they’ve got to spend time with the varsity which is good, just for their development.”
As to be expected with the scores of the three sets, Highland dominated from the service line, going on extended runs in each set. In the first, Larsen Terrill got things started with eight straight points and Camryn Miller added a 15-point run as the Scots cruised to the win.
The second set featured a five-point run by Kameron Stover and an 11-point one from Brooke Schott. Both Alexis Eusey and MaKaylee Merckling tallied two points and Kendal Kline finished the set by scoring the final point.
Kline then scored the first eight points of the third set — one that was dominated by younger players. Logan Bradley added five and Merckling scored six more, with Mia Stanco also scoring a point.
Rob Terrill was pleased that his players maintained their intensity through all three sets, even if they weren’t necessarily being pushed by their opponents.
“That’s what we have to do,” he said. “We have to value those points and value that opportunity because if you don’t value it now, you’re not going to value it later.”
Against the Cougars, Highland finished with 30 aces and 27 kills. Both Kline and Terrill had six aces each; while Merckling, Schott and Stover all had four aces. Schott also added four kills, while Stanco picked up five.
The coach knows that the competition is going to immediately get a lot tougher now that his team is in districts. After topping the 21st (Marion-Franklin) and 19th (Beechcroft) seeds in sectionals, his second-seeded Scot team will be playing fourth-seeded London for a trip to the district finals.
“Now we’re down to 64 teams that are left going into districts and if want to be in that final 32…London chose to come our way,” said Terrill. “They thought they have a good chance against us, so we’ll see how that goes.”
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS