By Mark Carpenter –
Flying under the radar, Coach Rachel Sims and her Peebles Lady Indians varsity volleyball squad have put together an impressive start to the 2017 season, standing with a record of 7-2 at press time, 4-1 in the Southern Hills Athletic Conference, including a three-set victory over the Manchester Lady Greyhounds on Sept, 7 in a match played at the Hound Pound at MHS.
To describe the varsity match as “blah” might be appropriate as neither team really played their best games before a pretty good crowd in the stands who seemed to have other things on their minds and kept rather quiet throughout. As it was, however, the Lady Indians prevailed rather handily in the end, taking down the Lady Hounds in straight sets, 25-11, 25-14, 25-14.
“I think that we seem to be coming together as a team better,” said Coach Sims after the win. “I’m seeing a lot of teamwork but we still have things we need to work on, such as serving.”
The two teams played evenly at the beginning of the first set, with Peebles holding a slim 8-6 advantage until the Lady Indians sent sophomore Christian Reed to the service line. Reed rattled off eight points in succession, aided by a pair of Madison Pierce kills, to give their side a double digit lead at 16-6. The Manchester girls bounced back with senior Katie Sandlin at the serve, pulling back to within 17-11, but that rally was stymied by the serves of Peebles’ Baylee Justice, one of the top servers in the SHAC.
Justice served out the remainder of the first set, seven in a row as the Lady Indians captured the first go-round 25-11.
Early in the second set, Peebles sophomore Hope Brown reeled off five service points in a row, fueled by a Tatum Arey kill, and the visitors took an 8-4 lead. The two sides traded points until Reed fired off three service points and kills by Pierce and Arey put the Lady Indians up 14-6.
The Peebles onslaught continued with Madison Beekman serving and the lead built to 22-11 before Manchester freshman Brooke Kennedy served three straight points, but that was not going to be nearly enough as a kill by Kylie Sims and then two service aces from Sims closed out the second set for the Lady Indians, 25-14.
In the third and what turned out to be the final set of the night, Peebles jumped to a quick lead on a pair of Justice serves and a Pierce kill and they never relinquished the advantage. Two service points from Alyssa Hoskins combined with an Aaliyah Smith kill and tip brought the home team within 7-5 but the Lady Indians grabbed five of the next six points to go up by six.
After two Manchester points, the Peebles girls got three more service points from Justice to maintain a comfortable lead at 17-9. With the visitors leading 20-14, the match came to a quick end when Sims went back to serve and finished off this set too, racking up five straight, a hand that included a pair of aces, as the Lady Indians took the third set 25-14 and the match three sets to none.
“We’ve beat some tough teams this season,” said Coach Sims. “As we keep going if we keep working together and building on what we have so far, then we’ll get things done.”
The Lady Indians went out of the conference on Saturday, Sept. 10 to pick up their seventh win of the campaign, taking the entire five sets to down visiting Minford, 25-15, 19-25, 21-25, 25-17, 15-11. They were back out of conference, hosting Piketon on Monday night, then on the road on Tuesday at Fairfield in SHAC play.
The loss to Peebles dropped the Lady Hounds to 2-5 on the year, and they faced a tough task on Tuesday night, traveling to Seaman to face the North Adams Lady Devils.