Despite a three-set sweep of rival Jeffersonville, New Albany volleyball coach John Breeding is looking for some consistency after a 25-11, 25-23, 25-16 win over the host Red Devils Tuesday night.
Using runs of 8-0 and 9-0, the Bulldogs (13-2) cruised in the first set.
Then the road became a bit bumpy in the second half as the Red Devils (9-7) surged to a 13-8 edge.
“We got behind because we were sitting back on our heels,” Breeding said. “First of all, Jeff always plays hard. They’ve come a long way. We let off the gas a little bit. If you open that door for a team, eventually it will bite you. You don’t want to give the momentum to another team. I don’t care who you’re playing.”
After a New Albany timeout, the Bulldogs regrouped and went to middle blockers Allyson Cathey, a junior Western Kentucky commit and Maddy Weber, a senior Northern Kentucky commit.
“We go to Cathey; we go to Weber,” Breeding said. “It’s nice to have those two kids. It’s a nice one-two punch.”
The Bulldogs then went on a 10-2 surge and held on for a 25-23 win in the second set.
In the third set, the Bulldogs took control early with an 18-4 edge before Jeff closed to within 20-14.
Cathey led the Bulldogs with 13 kills. Weber added 14 digs, five kills and five aces. Sadie Meyer handed out 22 assists.
For Jeff, senior middle hitters Alexis Bassett and Brianne Cochran led the way with six kills each.
Jeff’s first-year coach Liz Laythe said her team is headed in the right direction.
“My kids play with a lot of passion,” Laythe said. “My kids are still working on confidence. They’re not sure how good they can be.”
Looking at Thursday’s match at Columbus East, Breeding said the Bulldogs must play better to have a chance against the Olympians, ranked No. 6 in the most recent Class 4-A coaches poll.
“We have to receive (the serve) better,” he said. “We’ll have to pass the ball a lot better.”
Megan Gallagher recorded six service aces for the Red Devils. “Our serving really kept us in the match,” Laythe said.