Williamsport Westfall was hammered by graduation a year ago, losing three-fourths of its rotation. Dealing
with this was made
a little easier with the return of two-time Scioto Valley Conference player
of the year Cassie Sowers. The Eastern Michigan-recruit set a new school record with 33
kills Thursday in Westfall's four set victory over Huntington Ross. Sowers owned the old record of 30.
CHILLICOTHE – Williamsport Westfall was hammered by
graduation a year ago as the Lady Mustangs volleyball program said goodbye to
an incredible graduating class that made up over three-fourths of their rotation.
Dealing with this would be difficult for any program especially when you have
to ask thee freshmen to step in a play significant roles, but this transition
is made a little bit easier when you have the two-time Scioto Valley Conference
player of the year in Cassie Sowers anchoring your team.
The Eastern Michigan bound star
recorded a school record 33 kills Thursday night (breaking her own record of
30, which she recorded in the regional tournament her sophomore year) to help
Westfall escape Huntington Ross with a four set victory 25-20, 25-17, 16-25,
“During this opening week we have really been unsure of what
to expect,” Westfall head coach Lori Merriman said. “You never know what to
expect with young kids. I give a lot of credit to our seniors Cassie Sowers,
Stephanie Marvin, and Amy Adams. These girls are doing a great job of leading our team and taking the
pressure off of the younger players.
It is great to get a win on the road against a team like
Huntington. Hopefully this will
give our young kids some confidence as we move forward.”
Westfall looked as if they would have an easy go of it early
on in the match. Already up two
sets and off to an early two-point lead in game three, Huntington woke up and
came storming back. The Lady Huntsmen
scored 10 straight points and 14 out of 15 points to take control of the third
set. When Sowers returned to the
front row, the Lady Mustangs went on an eight point run of their own to cut the
Huntsmen lead to four at 19-15; however, the Lady Huntsmen answered once again
and eventually finished the deal on a Lydia Bridenbaugh kill to capture game
three 25-16, and cut Westfall’s advantage to two games to one.
“We played pretty well from the middle of the match on, but
we were just too slow getting started tonight,” Huntington head coach Tina
Magill said. “You cannot allow
yourself to start slow and get behind against a team as good as Westfall and
expect to win.”
Huntington continued to hang tough in the start of game
four, but in the end, it was too much Sowers at the net. The All-Ohioan sparked a five-point run
with two kills and a block, while freshmen teammates Haylie Joyce and Hannah
Gabriel produced a kill and a serving ace, respectively, as Westfall finished
off the impressive conference road victory.
Westfall did get some key contributions from its supporting
cast. Suzy Gantz had eight kills
while seniors Amy Adams and Stephanie Marvin recorded nine digs each.
freshman duo of Hannah and Haley Gabriel more than produced in their first varsity
road game as Hannah recorded 27 assists, 10 digs and seven aces. Haley had five
kills and 15 digs.
All of this served as great support to Sowers who dished out
11 assists, dug-up 14 balls, had two blocks, and was 14-15 in serve receive to
go with her 33 record-setting kills.
“Cassie was really good tonight,” Merriman said. “She was
really in the zone at times. Some of that is just her and her great talent, but
a lot of credit goes to the team as well. I thought we got some great passing
tonight from Amy (Adams) and Haley (Gabriel) and our freshman setter Hannah
Gabriel (who is playing opposite of Sowers in Westfall’s 6-2 offense) made some
great decisions as well.”
In a losing effort, Huntington (1-1) got some solid net play
from middle hitters Lydia Bridenbaugh and Allison Oyer. The two of them combined for 26 kills
and 17 blocks. Senior Jessica
Fraley also chipped in with eight kills.
“We have the ability to be effective at the net when we stay
aggressive,” Magill said.
“Sometimes we get tentative and start tipping or start trying to be too
perfect in our placement, instead of just staying aggressive and killing
it. We have had some spurts of
being really aggressive, but we need to become more consistent in our attack.”
Westfall (2-0) will travel to Logan Elm on Saturday before
welcoming in conference power Adena on Tuesday night. Huntington will take the weekend off before hosting Paint
Valley on Tuesday.
SIDE NOTE: In other
SVC action, Frankfort Adena made quick work of Zane Trace 25-8, 25-12, 25-14,
Unioto beat Paint Valley 25-15, 25-20, 25-17, and Southeastern defeated Piketon
in four sets 25-17, 24-26, 25-21, 25-17.
Another key match-up in southeast Ohio Thursday night came
in the Southeastern Ohio Conference as Lucasville Valley survived a two games
to none deficit to rally in five sets to beat Waverly 18-25, 7-25, 25-10,