By Carey Phillips
Smoky Mountain defeated Hayesville 25-9, 25-23, 25-10 in a non-conference volleyball match Sept. 27 at the SM gym.
Chandler Jerome put down 13 kills for the Lady Mustangs. Mariella Sheppard and Alexa Anderson both handed out 17 assists. Kennedy Stewman came up with 14 digs, and Olivia Rice had 12.
“It was good to have a non-conference game toward the end of the season,” Coach Melissa Hill said. “The girls showed grit. They came out the first set and took control of the tempo. In the second set we went back to old habits and dug a hole. The good thing was we got out of it, took it point by point and got the win.”
SM dominated the first set after Rice served four points, including an ace, and Jerome had two kills, for a 6-2 edge. Jerome’s four points, along with two kills and a block by Greenlee Flynn, upped the margin to 17-7. Anderson’s three points, including an ace, and Stewman’s kill made it 21-9. Stewman served the set’s final three points, including an ace.
The Lady Jackets roared to an 11-2 lead in the second set with seven straight points. Stewman served six points, including two aces, cutting the gap to 15-12. The Lady Mustangs took their first lead of the set at 24-22 as Anderson served four points, including an ace, and Stewman had two kills. The set ended on Flynn’s block for a side out.
Neither team had a run in the third set until Sheppard’s five points, including an ace, and Jerome’s kill put SM up 23-9. The winning point came on a side out.
Stewman led in service points with 12 and served 94.1 percent. Not missing a serve were Flynn (four) and Rani Patel (one). Sheppard served 92.3 percent, and Anderson finished at 91.7 percent. Team serving was 87.7 percent.
The Hayesville JVs came from behind to win 20-25, 25-17, 15-12.
“We started off really strong,” Coach Gabby Nelson said. “We’re just working on finishing and being able to keep our energy up and our level of play up all the way through the three sets.”
She singled out Sidda Thomason for her hitting and blocking and Suzannah Raynor for her serving.