BUFFALO GAP – Two days after losing a heartbreaker to Riverheads, the Buffalo Gap volleyball team needed a bounce-back performance.
On Thursday night, they got it.
The Bison got back in the win column in impressive fashion, sweeping Stuarts Draft 25-17, 25-12, 25-18.
“Confidence-wise, it was very important,” said Gap head coach Elizabeth Ashby, whose team is now 14-2 on the year. “Riverheads took us out of our rhythm and we needed to get it back.”
Throughout the match, the Bison stayed in control. They never trailed by more than three points in any set and kept the Cougars from going on any long scoring runs.
A pair of Madison Chesnut aces to start the opening game got Draft off to a quick start. Emily Hanger answered with two kills and a service ace as part of an 8-2 run that put Buffalo Gap back in control en route to a 25-17 win.
Thanks to a trio of aces by Camille Ashby, the Bison jumped out to a 6-1 lead in the second set. The Cougars would never recover as a Kaylee Mills’ serve finished out a 25-12 victory and a 2-0 lead in the match.
Some strong serving from Makaila Napier to open the third helped Stuarts Draft keep things close for a while. With the score tied at 10-10, back-to-back dinks by Abby Flint and Hanger put the Bison in the lead for good. Flint would later finish out the match with consecutive aces, sending the Cougars to defeat and dropping them to 9-9 for the season.
“We had a really bad night passing,” said Draft coach Michelle Kirby. “It was a struggle. We’ve got a lot to work on.”
Deborah Black and Danielle Brenneman led the Cougar attack with five kills each. Chesnut had 14 assists, while Rendy Dressler and Chesnut each served three aces in the loss.
With the conference tournament fast approaching, Kirby knows that her team will have to pick things up if they are going to make another run in the playoffs.
“We’re going to have to find a way to get our passes off the net,” said Kirby. “Here lately, I think we tend to focus too much on the play that just happened as opposed to focusing on the next one. We have to get to that point where we don’t look back and just keep looking forward.”
The Bison compiled some impressive hitting statistics in the three-set win. Flint had 12 kills, Hanger picked up nine, Kaylee Mills got five and Katie Foster added four. Hanger added four blocks at the net.
Ashby had a team-high 11 service points with four aces, while accumulating 32 assists as the setter.
“We still have some things to work on,” said coach Ashby after the win. “Serving is one. We still have some stuff to do, but we’re getting there.”
The Stuarts Draft jayvee team was convincing in the preliminary match, posting a 25-14, 25-14 win over Buffalo Gap. The Cougar JV’s are now 12-2.