CEDAR BLUFF – After a bit of a sluggish area match with Valley Head on Tuesday, Cedar Bluff volleyball coach Lyndsey Barker Mullins challenged her Lady Tigers to pick up their intensity in their nightcap match against Cherokee County.
Whatever Mullins said must have registered with the Lady Tigers. They set the tone in the first set with a 25-9 victory, but the Lady Warriors battled back to take the second set 26-24. Cedar Bluff finished off the match with 25-22 and 25-19 wins to even their record at 2-2 on the season.
“The first match we played tonight we were not scrappy,” Mullins said. “We had a talk after that first match about defense is what’s going to keep us in ball games, and I think they did a great job of stepping up and having the mentality of nothing was going to hit the floor. We had a couple of balls hit the floor, but overall, we were hustling after every ball and there weren’t many that hit the floor that we weren’t hustling after.”
The Lady Warriors (0-1) were playing shorthanded. Outside hitter Ella Garmany sprained her right foot at practice on Thursday evening and was fitted with a boot.
“We don’t know how long she’s going to be out,” Rieger said. “That basically gave us an hour on Friday to learn a new serve-receive and pull up somebody from the JV to play in her spot. Tonight we were playing with an eighth grader and two freshmen starting. Obviously that was a little different.
“There were several times where we were obviously confused about where we were supposed to be. That hurt us a good bit. There were several balls that fell because we didn’t swap bases.”
However, Rieger was pleased with how her younger players reacted on the court, particularly eighth grader Vivian Connell. She finished with a pair of digs and a block.
“I know she had to be nervous, but she appeared calm,” Rieger said. “She didn’t make a lot of errors. She was dsiciplined and got where she was supposed to be.”
Jordyn Walker led the Lady Tigers with 11 kills, 10 digs, two assists and an ace. Russell Givens added 10 kills, four digs, three aces and two blocks. Erin McFry managed five kills, two aces and a dig. Maggie Clowdis collected nine digs, four kills and two aces. Emma Haney had 11 assists, seven aces, five digs and four kills. Haley Allen contributed 15 assists, five digs and two kills. Mattie Payne finished with 12 digs and a pair of kills.
“They did a good job on defense,” Rieger said of Cedar Bluff. “Russell had some good swings. I thought they passed pretty well. We were kind of trying to pick on the ones I knew were swinging out to hit, but they were still passing pretty well. I think they did a good job of finding where we weren’t on defense and placing the ball there. There were several times when we had a good swing and it’d come shooting right back over. I think they did a good job of keeping the ball alive until we made an error.”
Madeline Ware posted seven kills, two digs and a block for the Lady Warriors. Sarai Ray collected 14 assists, five kills, five digs and a block. Anna Walker added nine digs, five kills and a block. Emilie Paul contributed four kills and three digs. Raegan Tierce tallied nine digs, two assists and a kill. Madison Leonard delivered 16 digs and an assist. AK Reyes finished with nine digs and an assist.
Cedar Bluff swept Valley Head in the early varsity match of the day. The scores were 25-10, 25-10, 25-3.
Givens posted four kills and 10 aces. Haney added 14 aces, five assists and a kill. McFry and Clowdis both contributed five aces. Allen added four assists. Shaya Satcher had two aces and Walker finished with a kill.