Lady Eagles soar past Southern for sectional title
by Alex Hawley
TUPPERS PLAINS, Ohio — Another year, another sectional title for the Lady Eagles.
For the 17th year in a row the top seeded Eastern Volleyball team was crowned sectional champions, as it defeated visiting ninth seeded Southern Thursday night in straight games in The Eagles Nest.
Southern (10-14) held tight with the EHS (22-1) through the first few points of the opening game but a 17 point run by the Lady Eagles gave them the momentum and the 25-6 victory in game one.
The Lady Tornadoes rebounded in the second game and jumped out to an early lead. Down by as many as six points at one time, Eastern clawed its way back into the game, and took the lead at 16-15. EHS won the second game 25-22 to increase its advantage to 2-0 in the match.
The Lady Eagles came out strong in the third game jumping out to a 12-3 lead. The Lady Tornadoes didn’t quit but the deficit was too much to overcome and Eastern took the 25-13 victory and the match.
“You gotta give Southern a lot of credit,I thought they played very well” said Eastern coach Howie Caldwell. “Tonight’s win was very good for us because they blocked us well and they played very hard against us.”
Eastern’s triumph was its 20th consecutive match won, and in the process the Lady Eagles have won 24 straight games. Southern has fell victim to EHS three times this season.
“Something I learned a long time ago is that it doesn’t make any difference how you win the game now,” Caldwell said. “Once you’re in the tournament the bottom line is just win and go on.”
The Lady Eagles service attack was led by senior Kiki Osborne with 16 points, all of which came in the first game.Erin Swatzel had 11 points for EHS, followed by Jordan Parker with six. Ally Hendrix and Maddie Rigsby each had five points, while Gabby Hendrix had three points to round out the EHS scoring.
Parker had 16 kills on the night to lead Eastern’s net attack, followed by Rigsby with 11 and Swatzel with nine. Katie Keller recorded four kills, Ally Hendrix had two and Osborne had one to round out the EHS total. Keller paced the net defense for the Lady Eagles with nine blocks, followed by Parker with two. Rigsby, Osborne and Swatzel each had one block on the night. Ally Hendrix had 37 assists to lead the way for the victors, while Gabby Hendrix had a team high 30 digs.
Southern’s service attack was paced by Baylee Hupp with five points and Celestia Hendrix with four. Alison Deem had three points, Jansen Would had two and Jordan Huddleston had one point to round out the SHS scoring.Southern has not won a sectional title since 2005.
“It was a good win for us,” said Caldwell. “When you play somebody that’s inspired to win and you win, its a good thing.”
Eastern will advance to the district semi-finals to face fourth seeded Leesburg Fairfield Thursday at 6 p.m. at Jackson High School.
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