By Carey Phillips
Smoky Mountain claimed a 27-29, 25-17, 25-8, 25-19 non-conference volleyball victory last Thursday at Highlands.
“This was a continuation from the Owen match,” Coach Megan Dezarn said. “We again took care of the ball and played clean all the way around. Everyone stepped up and did their part. I’m proud that no matter if we were up or down we didn’t give up. We didn’t get complacent, and we didn’t get down on ourselves. We stayed consistent throughout the match.”
The Lady Highlanders jumped to a 6-1 lead in the first set. Carley Raleigh served four points, including an ace, and Faith Shuler put down a kill as the Lady Mustangs (3-4) closed within 8-7. They again came within a point at 21-20 as Kennedy Stewman served three points and Natalie Parris had a kill. SM missed one chance to win the set, and Highlands missed three opportunities before nailing it down.
Raleigh’s four points and Shuler’s kill gave the Lady Mustangs a 7-2 advantage in the second set. Caroline Cowan’s seven points, along with two kills by Melanie Hoyle and one by Shuler, made it 15-5. The set ended with a side out.
Cowan’s four points, including an ace, and Hoyle’s block put SM up 10-5 in the third set. Shuler served four points and Raleigh had a pair of kills increasing the margin to 16-7. Ella Gamble served the final eight points, including two aces. Parris and Raleigh put down kills in the spurt.
Stewman’s three points, including an ace, gave the Lady Mustangs an 8-6 lead in the fourth set. Things stayed fairly close the rest of the way with Charlee Haney having a kill on the winning point.
Cowan and Gamble had 15 and 14 service points, respectively. They were both perfect in 22 serves. Also not missing a serve were Stewman (13), Shuler (eight) and Alexa Anderson (five). Raleigh served 93.8 percent. Team serving was 96 percent.
The Lady Mustang JVs are 5-2 after a 25-20, 25-13 win.
“It was only our second road match, and the girls played very confidently,” Coach Melissa Hill said. “It was nice to see them play with enthusiasm the entire match. It’s always good when everyone gets to play.”