By Carey Phillips
Murphy defeated Smoky Mountain 25-20, 21-25, 25-23, 25-18 in a non-conference volleyball match Sept. 30 at Murphy.
“We had a good lead in the third set and then got stuck in serve receive and let them come back,” Coach Megan Dezarn said. “That was a momentum shift. We tried to battle back, but I don’t feel like we every regained our momentum going into the fourth set. We had some mistakes at crucial times, like missing serves and being in the net, that ultimately cost us the match. When you play a good team, you can’t give away points.”
The Lady Mustangs trailed most of the first set but took an 18-16 edge when Faith Shuler served five points, including two aces. The Lady Bulldogs closed the set on an 8-1 run.
Carley Raleigh’s three points, including an ace, put SM up 12-11 in the second set. Caroline Cowan served the final two points, with the set ending on Melanie Hoyle’s kill.
Murphy scored the first three points of the third set, but Raleigh’s three points, including an ace, gave the Lady Mustangs a 4-3 edge. They extended the margin to 13-6 after Kennedy Stewman served six points, including an ace. Shuler and Hoyle both had two kills in the spurt. Murphy used a pair of 4-0 runs to close within 15-11 and 16-15. Six straight points gave the Lady Bulldogs a 22-21 edge, and they were able to close out the set.
Murphy stayed in front in the fourth set after going up 12-8 with four straight points. The Lady Bulldogs ran off the last five points of the match.
Stewman served 15 points. Not missing a serve were Cowan (13), Shuler (12) and Alexa Anderson (eight). Stewman served 91.3 percent. Team serving was 92.1 percent.
The Lady Mustang JVs won 25-21, 25-23.
“We kept the lead most of the time,” Coach Melissa Hill said. “There were a few times where we allowed them to close the gap, but we played confidently and consistently and maintained control.”