Western (1-0) won all three sets by double digits — 25-11, 25-13 and 12-13. However, New London (1-1) led early in the first two sets, 2-0, and kept battling before the Lady ’Riders started taking over.
“All preseason we’ve been picking up the pace of the game,” Western coach Lisa Muenz said.
During their practices and scrimmages, the Lady ’Riders have attempted to make their game faster and implemented that same strategy against New London.
“They started to serve much more aggressively. My hitters really capitalized at the net,” Muenz said.
Junior setter Hannah Burke led Western’s scoring attack by serving 24 points. Junior hitter and defensive specialist Morgan White added seven points and senior setter Andrea Robson contributed six.
Western’s top hitter was sophomore Avery Tubbs, who was 18-for-19 with 10 kills.
White was 100 percent, going 15-for-15 with 10 kills. Senior hitter Brooke Ommert had three solo blocks.
On the defensive side, senior libero Joleen Muenz and senior defensive specialist Sammi Scott each were 100 percent for serve-receive.
New London coach Jill Mitchell wanted to see more energy from her team.
“This was the worst I’ve ever seen my girls — by far. We had a game Monday (hosting Lucas) and we played unbelievable. If we have brought that game to this court, it would have been a totally different ball game,” she said.
“The energy (Wednesday) was totally different. Monday we were talking, moving (and) had great team chemistry going on and we didn’t have that (Wednesday).”
Mitchell saw the Lady Cats being much too reactive against Western.
“We were almost a step behind,” she said. “I think it’s different when you come to conference play. Western Reserve is a tough school; it’s a great rivalry.”
Mitchell wants to see New London have more energy and be more competitive in future FC games.
“We need to get to the point, where we can take it up a notch,” she said. “Our league is tough this season. We have some good, solid teams. Our goal is just to compete; we need to compete in every game. We have a good, decent team. We’re inexperienced, but we have potential, so let’s be competitive.”
New London junior setter Lili Bartow was 8-for-9 serving with two aces and 10 digs. Junior libero Leah McNeely had eight digs.
Senior Maryonna Cathey and junior Gabrielle Ledbetter each had four kills.
Muenz noticed a shift in momentum Wednesday when the pace changed.
“They (Western) started to get more confidence. They started to run away with it. I’m really proud of the whole team because one of our top hitters is down with an ankle injury,” she said.
“Morgan Boswell is down right now, so the girls just put together a new lineup in two days. Brooke Ommert stepped up. She really did a nice job. In this situation, all 12 girls on the team stepped up and worked together to make that happen,” the Western coach added.
In jayvee action, New London edged Western in the first set, 26-24, but the Lady ‘Riders pulled out 25-18 wins in the next two sets.
Each team will play FC opponents next. Western goes to Mapleton on Tuesday and New London will host Monroeville on Thursday.
Follow Reflector staff writer Cary Ashby on Twitter at @Cary_reporter and on Facebook at “Cary Ashby — reporter & comic book blogger.”