TUPPERS PLAINS, Ohio — The proof of consistency is in the numbers.
The Eastern volleyball team captured its second straight unbeaten league championship on Senior Night Thursday following a 25-14, 25-14, 25-14 victory over visiting Southern in the Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division finale for both clubs at the Eagle’s Nest.
The Lady Eagles (21-1, 16-0 TVC Hocking) honored seniors Kiki Osborne, Gabby Hendrix, Ally Hendrix and Katie Keller before the contest, then the hosts rode that momentum in handing the Lady Tornadoes (9-13, 5-11) a trio of 11-point losses. EHS also claimed a season sweep after claiming a 25-11, 25-16, 25-6 win at Charles W. Hayman Gymnasium on September 20.
Southern never led in any of the three games and managed five ties overall, three of which came in the finale. Eastern broke a 9-all Game 3 by using a 16-5 surge to wrap up their second unbeaten crown in as many years.
The win extended Eastern’s current match win streak to 19 straight this fall and also gave the hosts their 36th consecutive TVC Hocking triumph. The Lady Eagles have also won 28 straight home matches and 21 straight games headed into tournament play.
Eastern, however, never led by more than 11 points at any time in the contest — which was something that did leave EHS coach Howie Caldwell a little frustrated about afterwards. He noted that, collectively, Southern played a fantastic match, but he wasn’t happy with how his troops let them hang around before pulling away late in each game.
Caldwell also mentioned that that trend cannot continue into the postseason.
“My main goal in life, rather it be a sport or in the classroom, is to get people to go at 100 percent, and maybe even over 100 percent. Sometimes, like tonight, I didn’t think that we completely gave 100 percent of an effort,” Caldwell said. “I don’t want anyone to think that we aren’t happy with where we are or what we’ve done over the last few years, because we are. But, we have to play at 100 percent or more each night out. It’s the only thing from here on out that we can do to assure that we have another match waiting for us.
“Now I will say this. These girls have made a heck of a legacy for themselves so far this year. Last year’s state run doesn’t matter anymore. What we do from here on out will determine the legacy that this team leaves behind.”
Maddie Rigsby led the EHS service attack with 10 points, followed by Kiki Osborne with nine points and Erin Swatzel with eight points. Ally Hendrix, Jordan Parker and Gabby Hendrix also chipped in five points apiece to the winning cause.
Parker led the net attack with 16 kills and three blocks, while Swatzel and Rigsby respectively added 11 kills and eight kills. Osborne and Katie Keller both had three kills, while Ally Hendrix contributed two kills and a block. Keller also had a block for the victors.
Ally Hendrix led the passing game with 43 assists, while Gabby Hendrix had a team-best 28 digs. Rigsby and Lindsay Wolfe also had 17 and nine digs, respectively, for the hosts.
Katie Jenkins, Ali Deem, Baylee Hupp and Darien Diddle all had two service points for SHS, followed by Jansen Wolfe and Jordan Huddleston with one point apiece.
Wolfe led the Southern net attack with six kills, followed by Madison Maynard with three kills and Celestia Hendrix with two kills. Deem and Huddleston also had a kill each in the setback. Wolfe and Huddleston also had a block apiece.
Wolfe led the guests’ passing game with seven assists and Jenkins chipped in five assists.