CROOKSVILLE – West Muskingum held off a resilient Crooksville squad on September 30, as they swept the Lady Ceramics 3-0.
The Lady Tornadoes won the first set 25-14, second set 25-23 and the third set 25-19.
The first set was all West Muskingum. They came out the gates hot to an 11-3 lead before a Grace Frame kill sparked a 4-0 run for the Lady Ceramics. The visitors were in full control of the first, however, and the cruised to take the first set 25-14.
In the second set, it was the hosts who had the early run, jumping out to an 6-4 lead. The Lady Tornadoes tied it at six, and neither team would give any ground until the visitors got some breathing room at 14-12.
“I’m so proud of [the girls] in the second set because that’s the way they can play,” Crooksville Head Coach Courtney Barnhardt said. “They were coming together, and their energy was up. I think that was the main factor in that set, that they were connecting with the ball and connecting with their energy.”
An Ellie Ferguson block made it 15-17, and the visitors would continue their lead until Grace Frame executed a crucial block to tie it at 21. The Lady Ceramics won the next point to take the lead at 22-21, but the Lady Tornadoes won four of the ensuing five points to take the second set 25-23.
“We had a lot of cleaning up we needed to do in that second set,” West Muskingum Head Coach Megan Schrieber said. “The girls came together, they covered well, and they transitioned well. I think the strategic part of it was to clean up those things.”
The Lady Ceramics again jumped out to an early third set lead thanks to a Grace Frame tip, but with a 2-0 lead the Lady Tornadoes were determined to close the match. Their lead grew to as high as eight at 17-9, and the Lady Ceramics seemed to have no answer.
Crooksville would battle and get within five, but the lead was too much as West Muskingum took the third set 25-19 and the match 3-0.
“I always tell them there are so many good things that they do and so many things that they do well,” Barnhardt said. “There’s always room for improvement. We need to work on not getting in those holes. We have a hard time letting up a little bit and not fighting tooth and nail from point one to point 25.”
Frame led the Lady Ceramics with eight kills, three digs, one ace and one block while being 100 percent from the service line. Jailynn Theisen had 14 digs, and Taisia added nine digs and 15 assists.
For the Lady Tornadoes, Kyler Moore had three assists, 11 kills and 12 digs. Kinley Dodson had nine digs and 31 assists.
“I’m really proud of our team,” Schrieber said. “Even a little over midway through the season, we’ve already doubled our wins from last year. This year they’ve really come together and I’m proud of the way they play unified.”