The Athens volleyball team opened its match Tuesday against Abbotsford with a quick-hit spike by Kyncaide Diedrich for the first point.
Then the Bluejays did it again and again, using quick, short passes to set up hitters in a 25-10, 25-17, 25-17 sweep in a match between the last two undefeated teams in Marawood Conference North Division play.
“They ran a faster offense than we do and that we’ve seen lately and that made it tough on our back row,” Abbotsford coach Kayla Laher said. “Our back row had to dig almost everything they hit.
“They capitalized on our errors and we got into a funk and couldn’t get out of it,” Laher said.
When the Bluejays weren’t spiking for points, their block stifled the Falcons’ attack. Even scouting Athens didn’t help Abbotsford’s cause.
“We saw them in our bleachers a couple of times, so we knew they wanted to beat us,” Athens coach Kathy Luther said. “They have some talented players and we didn’t want to overlook them and we don’t want to overlook anyone else. If you do that you don’t play your game and tonight we did.”
Athens widened a first-set lead from 13-9 to 23-9 with a 10-point run, in which Kyncaide Diedrich and McKenzie Brodziski had two kills each. Casie Hieronimus closed the set with a kill.
“We were pumped up because we knew they were a good team and they wanted to knock us off,” Brodziski said. “They’re a good team, but we were just clicking tonight.”
The second set was the same as the first, but in the third Abbotsford kept it closer and led for the first time in the match at 7-6. The Falcons’ biggest lead in the game was three points, then Athens methodically regained the momentum and finished the match on an ace by Autumn Thurs.
“The girls were digging everything tonight,” Luther said. “They were trying to run a play on every offense set and when we pass well we can do just about anything.”
Athens def. Abbotsford 25-10, 25-17, 25-17
Leaders: Kills: Athens, Chelsee Tessmer 9, Casie Hieronimus 8, Kyncaide Diedrich 8; Abbotsford, Elli Carpenter 8. Digs: Athens, Diedrich 12, Ryanne Peter 11; Abbotsford, Paige Kocian 15. Assists: Athens, Lexi Belter 30; Abbotsford, Brooklyn Gunderson 10.