Olivia Rice

Smoky Mountain libero Olivia Rice passes the ball in last week’s win over Tuscola.

By Carey Phillips

Smoky Mountain’s volleyball team won its first Mountain Seven Conference game of the season by downing Tuscola 25-18, 25-18, 10-25, 25-20 Sept. 14 at the SM gym.

Macy Wike put down eight kills for the Lady Mustangs (4-5, 1-4). Mariella Sheppard had a double-double with 16 assists and 11 digs. Kennedy Stewman led in digs with 26, followed by Olivia Rice with 21 and Alexa Anderson with 17.

“We came out determined to get our first conference win,” Coach Melissa Hill said. “The girls played as a team. We had hustle. We had great passes, which allowed the setters to give us some wonderful sets to get to our hitters, and then they put them down. Everyone got on the court. I’m proud of everyone because they all contributed to this win.”

The Lady Mountaineers scored six straight points early to lead 7-2. Wike served five points, including two aces, while Chandler Jerome and Anderson had kills giving SM an 11-8 advantage. Jerome served four points, including an ace, and Greenlee Flynn had a kill upping the margin to 16-9. A 4-0 Tuscola run cut the gap to 21-17, but the Lady Mustangs held on and clinched the set on Stewman’s kill with Wike serving.

Sheppard served four points, including an ace, in the second set, and Jerome had a kill as SM went up 9-4. The Lady Mustangs maintained a comfortable lead throughout the set and ended it on Stewman’s ace.

Tuscola dominated the third set after taking leads of 5-0 and 9-1. Five straight points made it 22-9. SM had just one offensive point in the set.

The Lady Mounties had an 8-7 edge in the fourth set after a 4-0 run. The Lady Mustangs took the lead for good at 20-18 as Jerome served three points, including an ace, and Flynn had a block. The match ended on Flynn’s kill with Stewman serving.

Jerome led in service points with 10. Rani Patel was perfect in seven serves. Team serving was 85.5 percent.

The Lady Mustang JVs fell to 2-7 with a 25-18, 25-18 loss.

“We worked really hard,” Coach Gabby Nelson said. “We had some really good plays. Unfortunately, our good plays didn’t outweigh our bad plays. We had some good hitting going on. We had Suzannah (Raynor) getting some good touches along with Sidda (Thomason). We just need to work on putting it all together.”