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Sacred Heart outguns Lady Highlanders


September 12, 2012
In a match that saw 12 lead changes and 27 ties, the Valkaries of Sacred Heart outgunned host Floyd Central last Tuesday to win in three games. Floyd Central is playing an unthinkably tough schedule, including 16 state- and nationally-ranked teams in its first 19 matches.

"We did some good things tonight," Floyd Central coach Bart Powell said. "We communicated a little bit better. Our serve-receive needs to get better. We couldn't figure out a block because they run a pretty quick offense."

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Floyd Central’s Brooke Hinton dives for the ball as teammates Jordan Alvey (29) and Sarah Engle (16) watch in the background in the Lady Highlanders’ three-game loss to Sacred Heart. Photo by Wade Bell
Game one saw eight ties and six lead changes as both teams played even early. The Lady Highlanders finally got some momentum with the help of some errors by the Valkaries. Sydney Engle and Remi Bowman got tips to fall in for points to give the Lady Highlanders a 19-15 lead. Sacred Heart then scored the next three points to cut the gap to one.

Hannah Joly swatted in a pair of kills and the Valkaries erred to push Floyd Central's lead back to three. Sacred Heart, however, finally got a foothold, outscoring Floyd Central 5-2 in the end and getting a 25-23 win.

One thing working for the Valkaries was setting up the corner hitters who were hitting cross court.

"It was a quick set outside, too," Powell said. "Our block wasn't completely getting out there into the night. Thank goodness it's Sept. 4 and we've got a lot of time to work on some things for the end of the season."

Game two was even tighter with 19 ties and six lead changes. Floyd Central got up by three early, at 6-3, as Engle killed for a point and Sacred Heart suffered a miscommunication. The Valkaries came back, however, to tie at 6 following a kill by Madison Wessling.

From that moment on, neither team led by more than one until the end when Wessling killed twice and Emily McDaniel aced on serve. Annie Adams killed for the final point as Sacred Heart earned the 25-22 win.

"We played them point for point," Powell said.

The third game didn't go as well for the Lady Highlanders as Sacred Heart jumped to a 4-1 lead. Powell questioned a couple of calls on the ladder, and Floyd Central suddenly saw its deficit go to seven as it fell behind 11-4.

"Whenever I get mad at an official, our kids take the next two plays off," Powell said. "That was at 4-2, and then they took those next two plays off and then the next three plays off and got down 8-2 and then 9-3."

Floyd Central cut its deficit to five, 14-9, following a kill by Bowman. Sacred Heart kept the pressure on, pushing its lead to 19-12. Engle gave the Lady Highlanders one final run with three straight kills, but it was too little too late as the Valkaries got the game and match win, 25-19.

"We've got a lot of work to do," Powell said.

Engle and Joly led the Lady Highlanders with 10 kills each. Jordan Alvey had eight kills, and freshman Gwyn Jones finished with seven. Bowman added five kills. The Lady Highlanders missed only two serves in the three games but had just one service ace. Floyd Central finished with 13 errors.

"We didn't get a whole lot of out Sydney tonight," Powell said. "I just moved her from back side to the middle, and the timing's not there right now. We've got to figure out some timing. It was too late (at the end)."

Ashley Askin led Sacred Heart with 15 kills, and Wessling finished with 13. Bridget McConell and Adams added seven kills each. The Valkaries missed seven serves but had six aces. Sacred Heart also had 14 errors.

Powell said his team is needing to find a leader to push it forward.

"We've got to find an emotional leader," he said. "They had a couple of kids that weren't going to lose, and we're still trying to figure out who that is. We've got a bunch of young kids. Somebody is going to have to step up. Jordan (Alvey) will try it. Jordan is going to take that big swing when it's there, but she's not in the game all the time. She's got a great swing mentality. Jonesy has a great swing mentality. She was swinging. She plays big-time ball, and she's not going to let anything affect her swing."

"We've got some quiet kids, and that doesn't help things," he said. "We'll come up with one before the season ends."

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