NEW PARIS — National Trail’s volleyball team hosted a tri-match with Preble Shawnee and Valley View on Saturday, Aug. 20, to open the 2016 season, with the Lady Blazers dropping both matches, while the Arrows came away with a split.
The Lady Arrows beat the Lady Blazers 25-10 and 25-16, but lost to Valley View in an exciting game 26-24, 20-25, and 28-30. Valley View then beat Trail 25-8 and 25-17.
The first match-up of the day pitted the Blazers against the Arrows. Trail opened up the first game with a 4-0 run, but from there it was all Preble Shawnee.
The Arrows outscored the Blazers 25-4 from there on to easily win the first game, highlighted by a 10-point run after the first timeout called by Blazers coach Joy Yeazel.
Shawnee’s Elise Walker scored her four aces during that stretch. The second game showed similar results; the Blazers started strong but were quickly overwhelmed. Trail tried a short comeback, but it was too little too late.
Walker led the Arrows with four kills, four digs, four aces, and 15 service points. Miranda Chaney had seven digs, three aces, and 11 service points. Carol Cappel registered four digs, three aces, eight service points, and Kaylie Campbell had four kills.
“It was a very slow match for the first game of season.” said Preble Shawnee coach Kristy Cottingim. “Seems like it takes the team a little longer to get going on Saturday mornings in general than on week night matches. We had a hard time getting any flow going with our offense. Trail was scrappy. I saw improvements in them since last year. Their Libero did a very nice job. Glad to get the first win under our belt.”
Marissa Hawkins and Brooke Johnson both had two aces from the service line for National Trail. Shania Jordan led the Blazers with four kills and Abby Sullivan had three kills. Freshman Brooke Johnson had five assists to lead the team. Junior Ariel Lee led the team defensively with eight digs.
The match between Valley View and Preble Shawnee was tight the entire way. It was hard fought and tight from start to finish as neither team established dominance over the other.
Game one saw neither team hold a lead of three points for long. The Arrows matched Valley View point for point, block for block until the first one ended 26-24 in Shawnee’s favor.
The second game saw the Spartans open up an early lead with three long volleys between the two teams that fell in the Spartans’ favor.
But PS fought back after being down several times on some key plays by Walker and blocks by Malorie Plaugher.
Valley View built a five point lead, but the Arrows staged a big comeback once again. The second game ended on a Spartan service ace for the 25-20 win, their first which tied the match.
The third game was equally competitive with PS holding an early 5-3 lead, five lead changes later, Valley View was up 9-8. Valley View was up 23-21 and poised to close out the match, but the Arrows had other ideas before eventually falling 30-28.
Walker was very active with 13 kills, 11 digs, three service aces and 13 service points. Savannah Lynch had 14 assists and 17 service points. Campbell had four kills, a pair of solo blocks, three aces and nine service points. Plaugher added four kills, a solo block and two aces. Cappel made 11 digs, while Briana Wells added eight digs, and Miranda Chaney had four kills, 14 service points and three digs.
“We were outmatched size wise. Valley View has many players that play JO (Junior Olympics). They are a strong team. My girls fought for each point. They did not give up. It is the attitude that we plan to bring all the time. Elise Walker and Savannah Lynch really stepped up as leaders. Elise had a great match. Defensively she would not give up and covered a huge amount of the court. Kaylie Campbell had a great match at the net and at the service line,” Cottingim said. “This was a tough one to lose but this was a great developmental match for us. It shows the heart my girls will bring on the court. I am extremely proud of my entire team for their focus on the match and support they gave one another. They are a wonderful group of girls.”
National Trail fared far worse against Valley View. The first game saw the Blazers take an early lead, but the strength and depth of the Spartans quickly took over. Game two was closer, but produced the same results for Trail.
Statistic leaders for the Blazers were Ariel Lee with two service aces, Abby Sullivan with five kills and 11 good service receptions and Risa Griffin had five digs. The Lady Blazers are now 0-2 on the year and were scheduled to play Brookville at home on Monday night, Aug. 22. Preble Shawnee was scheduled to play Tuesday, Aug. 23 at Brookville, then host Eaton on Thursday, Aug. 25. Preble Shawnee is now 1-1 on the season.
Reach Oliver Sanders at 937-683-4062 or on Twitter @osanders_RH