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Western bounces back with dominating road sweep

By JOSH MORGRET • Sep 13, 2018 at 9:35 PM

GREENWICH — Western Reserve's Morgan White consistently led her team throughout the night.

So, who was there at match point for one final kill?

White, a left-hander, smacked down her 14th and final kill to lead the Roughriders to a convincing 25-15, 25-13, 25-13 Firelands Conference win over South Central on Thursday in Greenwich.

"We were coming off of two tough matches where we lost to Crestview and St. Paul, both in four games," Western Reserve coach Lisa Muenz said. "We came in and we did not really know what to expect from South Central. I don't think the scores really show the battles and rallies we had here."

Western Reserve (6-2, 4-2 FC) consistently led throughout the night and never let its foot off the throttle.

Meanwhile, the Trojans (6-4, 3-3) battled a plethora of net violations, as well as various simple mistakes that just can not be made against any opponent.

"I can not attribute it to anything specific," South Central coach Daren Walcher said. "I think it is just fundamental mistakes. Not running into the net is one of the first things learned in volleyball. We had some position problems and communication errors."

The 'Riders jumped out to a 11-2 lead in Game 1, thanks in part to errors from South Central, as well as three kills from Avery Tubbs and two kills from White (22 digs). The Trojans responded with six straight points, but Western maintained.

Later, the Trojans were within 16-14, but six straight points by the 'Riders allowed Western Reserve to take control again. Alyssa Burch and Emma Weber each blasted down a kill in the run and an ace by Western Reserve gave it the early lead.

"Offensively, we have been struggling the last two matches being aggressive," Muenz said. "I feel like we were a little more aggressive tonight than we have been at the net."

South Central bounced back early in Game 2. After trailing 4-2, the Trojans scored four straight points, including two kills and a block by Taylor Sexton, for its biggest lead of the night.

But, as all good teams do, Western Reserve asserted its dominance as the game wore on. Trailing 8-6, the 'Riders went on an 11-1 run run to seize momentum. Western Reserve got everyone in the action, using its distinct height advantage to dominate the Trojans.

"Western Reserve has a lot of good size over the top of us," Walcher said. "Overall, we are young and we made some fundamental mistakes. The score reflects the mistakes we made. Western Reserve has a solid program."

South Central got back within six points at 19-13, but Western Reserve won the last six points of the game — four off of Trojans errors — to take a commanding lead.

"We worked in practice on transitioning off the net and attacking quicker," Muenz said. "I saw that tonight. The girls came off the net quick and attacked quick. I feel that our back row communicated with our front row well."

The 'Riders maintained their high level of play into Game 3. Western Reserve jumped out to leads of 9-2 and 13-3 to fend off any thoughts of an improbable comeback by the Trojans.

The teams played evenly throughout the rest of the game, but the early lead that Western Reserve had held up. White's 13th kill made it 24-12 and her blast down the middle of the South Central defense finished off the Trojans.

"As a team, we are vertically challenged," Walcher said. "I can appreciate anytime one of our players do get a solo block on the size of team that Western Reserve has. It is very difficult."

Sexton led South Central with seven kills while Ellery McKee had 11 assists. Lorin Walcher had 17 digs and Kailee Beaver registered 16 digs.

"The girls never gave up and they fought all the way until the end, even though the score does not indicate it," Walcher said.

Burch and Jessa Riley each served 12 points for the 'Riders while Tubbs added eight kills. Hannah Burke contributed 30 assists.

Muenz also liked what she saw out of Morgan Spettle.

"This is her first year playing middle for us," Muenz said. "For her to take some big swings tonight is something we like to see. We are seeing her grow at middle hitter."

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