The Division IV No. 2-ranked Lady Flyers won in three sets, 25-16, 25-18 and 25-20, at the St. Paul Convocation Center to improve to 18-1 overall and 12-0 in the FC.
“I think we’ll feel a lot better when we finish it out. The girls who were involved want to finish out undefeated,” said coach Nancy Miller, who has 16 conference titles at St. Paul. “I think our focus is finishing out right now.”
Western fell to 14-6 and 7-5 in the FC.
“We’ve got a tough conference here I believe. In the past we’ve not been looked at as competitive and I’m proud to say the Firelands Conference is pretty solid. We can go head to head with any conference in the area,” Western coach Lisa Muenz said.
The Roughriders coach praised Miller’s team.
“The program is very established. Coach Miller turns out some strong players every year. We know going in it’s going to be hard,” said Muenz, who was proud of the way Western played.
“I don’t think we’ve ever been able to show the St. Paul Flyers what the ‘Riders are capable of,” she added. “ \I’m very proud of the way we showed up tonight.”
St. Paul has played eight matches in a nine-day stretch.
“We had a long week,” said Miller, who saw her team sometimes have a lack of focus and energy against Western. “It was a little tight tonight.”
Rachel Bleile led the Lady Flyers in setting with 38 assists. The senior also had 10 points, 14 digs and an ace.
Kamyrn Maxwell added 10 points and five aces.
“Meghan Hedrick led us with 20 kills, followed by Tess Lepley with 15 kills,” Miller said. “I think our hitters were transitioning well and I think Tess and Meghan did a great job controlling the net.”
Lauren Chandler had 15 digs and Megan Hammersmith had seven kills.
For Western, Emma Weber led the way with eight kills. She also had a solo block and three block assists.
Brooke Ommert had seven kills. Avery Tubbs contributed five kills, one solo block and two block assists.
Morgan Boswell led the team with 10 points. Morgan White had 14 digs. Andrea Robson led the ‘Riders with 12 assists and Hannah Burke added 10.
“They fought and they were aggressive. I don’t think the score will (reflect) those rallies; they were some long rallies,” Muenz said. “Of course we didn’t execute in all areas. We missed some serves at moments that hurt use, that killed our momentum.”
The Western coach was impressed with Lepley, calling the left-handed senior “a double threat.”
“I feel she’s the most improved junior (to) senior I’ve seen,” Muenz said. “Her reach is what I think is the most difficult to play defense on. … She’s really impressed me the last two games.”
The coach said the Lady Flyers played aggressive offense in every set Thursday.
“We sent over a lot of free balls. Against a team that is that sound and that powerful, you can’t do that — ever,” Muenz said. “You have to play error-free.”
The St. Paul junior varsity squad also won, 25-21 and 25-11.
Libby Dvorak led the way with 20 digs. Olivia Englert had 12 assists and Stevie Ward added 10. Danielle Smith had seven kills.
The Lady Flyers continue FC action Tuesday when they visit Mapleton with an opportunity at the outright title. Western also plays a conference game Tuesday at South Central.
Follow Reflector staff writer Cary Ashby on Twitter at @Cary_reporter and on Facebook at “Cary Ashby — reporter & comic book blogger.”