CENTENARY, Ohio — It’s tough to tell which was better, the Blue Angels’ serve receive, or their serve.
The Gallia Academy volleyball team had a side-out percentage of 80 and notched 19 aces, as the Blue Angels cruised to a straight games win over Ohio Valley Conference guest Ironton on Tuesday in Gallia County.
The Lady Tigers led for the first and only time in the match at the start of the first game. From a 3-2 deficit, Gallia Academy (5-0, 4-0 OVC) rattled off eight consecutive markers and never trailed again.
Ironton cut its first game deficit to as low as five points, at 17-12, but the Blue Angels claimed eight of the next nine points to seal the 25-13 victory. In the opening game, GAHS had nine aces and had a side-out percentage of 76.9.
Gallia Academy led wire-to-wire in the second game, winning the point on 11 of its 12 serve receive chances. The Blue and White won the second by a 25-11 total, recording seven aces in the game.
The Blue Angels also led from start-to-finish in the third game, after claiming 10 of the first 11 points. The GAHS lead was in double figures from 14-4, to the final margin of 25-10.
Following the victory, fifth-year GAHS head coach Janice Rosier noted her team’s enjoyment of the game, as well as the momentum coming from Saturday’s sweep of non-conference rival River Valley, as key factors in the Blue Angels’ stellar play.
“They had fun, and when they have fun they play well,” Rosier said. “Saturday was key, they played well Saturday, and I think they even played better tonight. Right now they are really focused. They’re focused on taking every game seriously, yet having a good time, and remembering what their ultimate goals are at the end of the season.”
The victory is Gallia Academy’s 33rd straight in the OVC, its 23rd consecutive at home in the league, and its 11th in a row in the regular season overall. The Blue Angels have also won 22 single games in the regular season, with a string of seven consecutive sweeps.
As a team, Gallia Academy recorded a serve percentage of 83.8 and a hitting percentage of 44.1, while Ironton had a serve percentage of 88.2 and a hitting percentage of 2.0.
Not only did the Blue Angels finish with a side-out percentage of 80, but they held IHS to a side-out percentage of just 36.5.
“Our serve receive has been one of our weaker spots,” Rosier said. “We have worked on it, worked on it, and worked on it. To add to it, we’ve started a program where the girls give themselves goals, and I think that helps. We had goals reached tonight, they got there and then some.
“We work on serve and serve receive at the same time. Hunter (Copley) has a wicked serve, it’s like a rocket, and it’s hard for the other team to receive.”
Copley led the Blue Angels with match-highs of 19 service points and 10 aces, with 11 of her markers coming in the first game. Alex Barnes was next with 11 points and three aces, followed by Ashton Webb with six points and four aces. MaKenna Caldwell had five points, all in the third game, Peri Martin finished with four points and one ace, while Maddie Wright ended with two points and one ace.
Webb led the Blue Angels at the net with 14 kills, followed by Barnes with eight. Wright marked six kills and one block, Maddy Petro chipped in with four kills and a block, while Martin and Aubrey Unroe had two kills apiece, with Martin earning one block and 31 assists. Taylor Burnette led the Blue Angel defense with a dozen of the team’s 26 digs.
Marybeth Burton, Lydia Hannan and Peighton Rowe had two points apiece for the Lady Tigers, with Riley Schreck finished with one.
Schreck led IHS with five kills, followed by Burton, Hannan and Kiandra Martin with two apiece. Rowe had six of 10 assists for Ironton, while Burton had six of 21 digs.
The Blue Angels are back on the court at South Point on Thursday.
“South Point has improved,” Rosier said. “They’re scrappy, they’re not going to go down easily. It’ll take my girls playing a lot like they did tonight, and I think they can do it.”
Ironton and Gallia Academy will rematch on Oct. 2 in Lawrence County.
NOTES: The last time IHS and GAHS met was Oct. 5, 2017, when Ironton claimed the first game of a 3-1 loss at Gallia Academy. That Game 1 loss ended the Blue Angels’ streak of 75 straight OVC games won, as Gallia Academy hadn’t lost a single game in the OVC since Oct. 12, 2015 at Portsmouth.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.