TUPPERS PLAINS, Ohio — For the 20th time in the last 21 years, the Lady Eagles are sectional champs.
The third-seeded Eastern volleyball team — which defeated South Gallia in both regular season meetings — claimed a third victory over the 11th-seeded Lady Rebels in Thursday night’s sectional final, as the host Lady Eagles won in straight games at ‘The Nest’.
The Lady Rebels (7-17) charged out to a 9-2 lead in the opening game, but Eastern (14-9) battled back and took the advantage at 13-12 as part of a 8-0 run. EHS claimed 14 of the final 15 points in the first, winning the game by a 25-13 final.
The Lady Eagles won the second and third games by matching 25-8 counts, sealing the 3-0 victory and the sectional title.
“I called a timeout and told them they had to get their passing on,” EHS head coach Katie Williams said of what changed midway through the first game. “We had to do a better job tracking the ball and they girls answered.”
Eastern was led by Morgan Baer with 15 points and one ace, followed by Allison Barber with 11 points and one ace. Morgain Little contributed 10 points and one ace, Katlyn Barber had seven points and two aces, while Abbie Hawley chipped in with five points. Mackenzie Brooks and Abby Litchfield rounded out the EHS service attack with four and three points respectively.
At the net, Eastern was led by Katlyn Barber with 19 kills and three blocks. Little posted seven kills in the win, Brooks added four kills and a block, while Allison Barber had three kills and two blocks. Baer led the Lady Eagles with 30 assists, while Allison Barber and Katlyn Barber both finished with a match-best 14 digs.
Eastern advances to the district tournament at Jackson High School, where they will play on Wednesday.
“Tournament time is what matters,” Williams said.”I’m looking for the girls to give the best effort that they possibly can and we’re going to prepare. There are no guarantees and they know that, so they’re going to come out like every game and practice is their last.”
South Gallia’s service attack was led by Rachal Colburn and Taylor Burnette with four points apiece, including two aces by Colburn. Erin Evans posted two service points for the Lady Rebels.
Colburn also led SGHS at the net with four kills and one block. Hannah Shafer posted two kills, Christine Griffith added one kill and two blocks, Burnette marked a team-high two assists, while Evans, Olivia Hornsby, Amaya Howell and Aaliyah Howell each had one kill.
“Overall this season, we had a young team and we started slow,” SGHS head coach Sarah Wright said. “We picked it up toward the end when it mattered.”
South Gallia will now have to say farewell to two seniors Haley Johnson and libero Maddie Simpson.
“Both girls will be greatly missed,” Wright said. “We have a lot of young girls, I’m looking to improve in open gyms and carry it over into our season. We’re just going to continue to get better every year.”
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.