TUPPERS PLAINS, Ohio —The key is to always be playing your best at the end of the season.
The Southern volleyball team concluded its regular season with its fifth straight win Tuesday night, defeating Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division host Eastern 3-1 at ‘The Nest’.
Southern (17-4, 13-3 TVC Hocking) fell behind early in the opening game, but allowed Eastern (12-10, 8-8) just six service points, and the Lady Tornadoes claimed a 25-12 win.
The Lady Eagles — who had won four of their last five matches prior to Tuesday — scored the first five points of the second game, but Southern answered with seven consecutive markers. The Purple and Gold never relinquished their lead and rolled to a 25-19 victory.
After battling through seven ties early in the third game, EHS jumped out to a 13-7 lead. The Lady Tornadoes rallied to tie the game twice, first at 14 and again at 21, but the Purple and Gold never took the lead and fell by a final of 25-21.
Following a trio of lead changes early in the fourth game, Eastern built a three-point advantage. Southern rallied to take the lead at 16-15 and pushed the advantage to as many as seven points, en route to a 25-21 win.
“Coming in here you never know what you’re getting into, but I knew they’d come ready to play,” SHS head coach Chris Carroll said. “I felt like we really came out strong in the first two games, but we backed off in the third. You can’t do that against good teams and Eastern’s a good team. It’s going to be tough sometimes, we’re not going to have an easy game the rest of the year and we have to learn to battle through those when we are down a little bit.”
The Lady Tornadoes were led by Ali Deem and Cameryn Harmon with 12 points apiece, followed by Kamryn Smith with eight. Jansen Wolfe and Marlee Maynard both posted seven points, Savannah Bailey added five, Hannah Hill chipped in with four, Haley Hill contributed two points, while Amanda Cole had one point in the win.
Eastern’s service attack was led by Annalisa Boano with 11 points including two aces, followed by Morgan Baer with nine points and two aces. Brittney Leach finished with seven points and one ace, Katlyn Barber added five points, Morgain Little marked three points, while Kelsey Johnson and Sidney Cook rounded out the EHS scoring with two points and one point respectively.
“We let them get up several points on us and it’s hard to battle back, especially against a good team like Southern,” EHS head coach Katie Williams said. “It’s very, very important that we handle the ball from the get go and get into our grove. Ball handling was our number one priority and deficit tonight.
At the net Southern was led by Wolfe with nine kills and nine blocks, followed by Cole with seven kills and three blocks. Madison Maynard had five kills and four blocks, Faith Teaford added four kills and four blocks, Sierra Cleland finished with three kills and three blocks, while Brynn Harris hammered home four kills. Marlee Maynard posted a team-best 20 assists, followed by Hannah Hill with six, while Deem led the SHS defense with 12 digs.
Barber led Eastern’s net attack with 12 kills and three blocks, followed by Kelsey Johnson with 11 kills and four blocks. Boano marked six kills and a block, Mackenzie Brooks posted four kills and two blocks, while Baer had three kills, one block and a match-best 27 assists in the loss. Barber also led the EHS defense with 29 digs, followed by Boano with 15.
Southern — which defeated EHS in five games on September 22, in Racine — still has a chance to share the TVC Hocking title. The Lady Tornadoes will share the conference championship with Waterford and Trimble if the Lady Tomcats fall to Federal Hocking on Thursday.
This marks the regular season finale for both teams. The Lady Eagles will return to action in the sectional semifinal on Monday, where they will host Miller. Southern will host Pike Eastern in the sectional final on Thursday, October 22.