WEST ALEXANDRIA — Preble Shawnee moved to 12-2 on the season with a straight sets win (25-19, 25-11, 25-20) over Twin Valley South on Thursday, Sept. 23.
While South kept things close throughout the match, Preble Shawnee was able to pull away in each of the three sets to secure a win against the in-county rival.
“We spent a lot of time working on coverage, and getting hands on the ball on the blocks, covering our hitters, and then just trying to work on defense, moving to the ball, trying to put a little more effort into getting after those balls and always hustling,” South coach Jandee Mowell said. “We knew coming in – I was hoping our blockers would do their job and get some hands on the ball, and so we were really worked on coverage, and then hitter coverage, because I know they’re good blockers as well.”
The Arrows jumped out to an early 4-0 lead in the first set, but the Panthers stormed back to take a 13-11 lead. Shawnee then went on a 6-0 run to make it 17-13 in favor of the Arrows.
South battled back in the set to make it a three-point deficit at 22-19, but the Arrows finished the set off with three straight points to take it 25-19.
Shawnee started hot in the second set, beginning 5-0 and eventually being up as many as 16 points at 21-5. The Arrows would finish the set off with a 25-11 win.
In the third, the Arrows jumped out to another early 7-3 lead, but South came back to take an 8-7 lead.
Later tied at 16-all, South would take three of the next five points to gain a 19-18 advantage, but Shawnee would close the set on a 7-1 run to take the third set 25-20 and the match 3-0.
“I thought the first and third sets were pretty good,” Mowell said. “Second set, you know, we just got down – that first server got us – and we couldn’t climb out from it. But, we started to make a little bit of a comeback, and I think we were able to use that momentum that we had there toward the end of the second set, going into the third, to stay competitive. That was my goal tonight – to stay competitive.”
Despite the loss, Mowell said there were positives to take away.
“Morgan Harrod really stepped it up with covering and defense. She did a great job moving to the ball. She’s puts down a hurtin’ on that ball when she hits, so she stayed aggressive tonight. I thought Taylor Mowell did a really nice job with us going after the ball. I think our libero, she’s a great serve-receiver. She keeps the ball nice, low and settable for us. I think she did a great job, really stepping up and serve-receiving.”
For the Arrows, the win over Twin Valley South was Shawnee’s 10th consecutive win, and coach Josh Evans has high hopes for where his team will end up. The Arrows’ streak ended against Eaton the following Monday in a four-set loss.
“We have the chance to go far. We do,” he said. “We’ve been in a funk for the last week and a half. I don’t know if that’s homecoming, I don’t know if it’s all the circumstances that have happened before our games and all that stuff like that, but this team is a great team…We still have a lot to grow. They definitely want to prove it and they’re gonna push and push and push. They have potential to be better than the team last year; they’ve just got to understand it and they’ve got to want it.”
Sophomore Kahlen Kulms led the Arrows with nine kills, followed closely by juniors Harlee Howard, Cora Neihoff and Liv Thompson with eight each. Senior Carlyn George led with 32 assists, and sophomore Korrie Woodard led with 15 digs, followed by sophomore Delaney Klapper with 12 digs.
As the Arrows prepare for a tough series of matches to close the season against Eaton, Tri-Village and Chaminade Julienne, Evans said the one thing the team needs to fix is communication.
“It’s no secret; everybody knows we’re an offensive. We’re an offensive power. So, we need to clean up our passing. That’s definitely going to be the big thing that’s going to take us to the next level is cleaning up our passing so we can get Carlyn [George] to give us a good set. We can easily come out of this looking at 20-2 or 19-3. We’ve just got to battle Eaton, we’ve got to battle Tri-Village and end the season with CJ. We have the opportunity, we could do it. We’ve just got to do.”
The Arrows were scheduled to visit Eaton on Monday, Sept. 27, Ansonia on Tuesday, Sept. 28, and host Newton on Thursday, Sept. 30.
Reach Braden Moles at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @BradenMoles