FRANKFORT — It was the battle for a three way tie on top of the SVC Tuesday night.
However, Adena would have none of that.
The Warriors made a huge statement with a 25-16, 25-16, 26-24 sweep of Huntington and claimed sole possession of first place in the SVC.
“This win was so big for us,” Adena head coach Laura Smith said. “This puts us in a great spot. Coming into this match, I had some worries because we’re such a young team, a lot of sophomores and juniors and only one senior. So I just wanted them to relax and play the game and they played great.”
With that young team, Smith had those worries, but there was one major concern she did have going into the game.
“Rikki Magill,” Smith said. “She is such a smart player and she’s very skilled. She has that tough serve, makes smart plays and she gets the ball to the players who she knows will get those points for their team, so we had to make sure to watch her every move because she’s extremely talented.”
As the match began, Huntington (11-3, 5-2 SVC) looked a little over anxious and Adena took full advantage of that. The Warriors (13-2, 7-0) breezed through the first set, taking the early lead 7-2 and forcing the Huntsmen to take a timeout and regroup. They would keep the momentum going, maintaining the lead through the set 17-10, 21-12 and taking the first set 25-16.
In the second set, it looked as if the Huntsmen shook off their early nerves and regrouped. They took an early lead 7-6 and took the fight straight to the Warriors. Adena however, would go on a 9-3 run to retake the lead 16-9, forcing Huntington to call timeout. As play resumed, the Huntsmen went on a 6-1 run to close the gap to 18-15, but the Warriors had too much firepower as they closed on a 7-1 run to take the second set 25-16.
“We played pretty composed in those first sets,” Smith said. “We really stress our defense because we’re not a very tall team at all. We work extremely hard on our digging, passing and maintaining ball control to make the best play possible. Working on those things really pays off in a game like this.”
The third set was a little bit of a different story.
Adena took an early 5-2 lead, before Huntington went on a 5-0 run, taking the lead 7-5. Adena responded with four straight points and then Huntington came back with four straight points of their own, retaking the lead 11-9. They kept a close lead 15-13 and 18-17 before Adena regained the lead 20-19. Huntington took the lead back 20-19 and 22-21.
Adena would tie the game at 22 and then the game would be tied at 23. The Warriors would take the lead 24-23, and then Huntington’s Dylana Gragg would get the kill to knot things up at 24. The next ball would be spiked by Adena and go off one of the Huntsmen’s fingertips giving the Warriors the lead and the final point would be scored by a net violation, giving the Warriors the set and the game.
“I think we got a little bit ahead of ourselves in the third set,” Smith said. “We kind of lost our mental focus during the third set and we can’t have that. This game was too important for that to happen, but they quickly got it together and battled hard until the very end.”
Devon Putnam led the Warriors with 13 kills and 15 digs. Carissa Poehler had 10 kills. Kelsie Bossert had 15 digs along with four kills and Carly Carroll had 13 digs and two aces.
Huntington was led by Dylana Gragg’s 10 kills and eight digs. Rikki Magill had 20 digs and eight kills. Jillian Snyder had eight digs and Carolane Cox and Alisha Long each had seven digs and Kennedy Debord had six kills.
“There’s so much more we can do,” Smith said. “We’re a young team and there are things we can add to our offense and get better at. Hopefully a win like this gives them the confidence to keep working and it’ll push them even harder to keep improving and getting better game by game.”
Adena will return to the court on Thursday at home against Paint Valley. Huntington will also be in action on Thursday as they travel to Piketon.