Cherokee – The Lady Devil volleyball team got back to their winning ways Thursday with a 3-1 win over Cherokee. Swain took the sets by the scores of 25-14, 22-25, 27-25 and 25-12. With the win the Lady Devils got back in the win column and moved their record to 3-5.
In the first set the Devils were dominant at the net as they pounded out 15 team kills from 4 different players. At the service line Swain got 6 aces. The middle hitting duo of Jenna Marr and Savana Smith did much of the damage. Marr finished the set with 7 kills, while Smith had 4. Hannah Epperson and Jessie Lohmann rounded out the net dominance with 3 and 1 kill respectively.
Swain got off to yet another hot start in set 2, jumping out to a 9-2 lead. Hot starts is nothing new for this team, but finishing sets has been. This trend reared its ugly head in set 2. Cherokee tied the set at 12 behind a service ace from Creeden Arch. After the two teams exchanged points the Braves took the lead behind a pair of aces from Aria Forest. Swain tied the set again at 20 behind a Savana Smith kill, then retook the lead with another Smith kill at 21-20. Swain scored again on a Cherokee mistake, taking a 22-20 lead. Cherokee scored the next 5 points. Mackenzie Reed notched a kill and Zoey Walkingstick served a pair of aces to close out the set at 25-22.
Set 3 provided even more fireworks. Once again Swain raced out to an early lead, which at one point got to 12 points. Cherokee ran off 6 straight points to get back in the set. A Jenna Marr kill ended the Cherokee run and kept Swain in front 21-17. Cherokee eventually tied the set at 22, after scoring 3 straight points. Savana Smith and Vivian Ross exchanged kills, keeping the score tied at 23. The score went back and forth on errors, and finally the Lady Devils took advantage of mistakes and closed at the tight set at 27-25.
The final set saw Swain run out to another big lead, eventually reaching 16-8. After Cherokee had cut into the lead it was Savana Smith with a pair of kills and an ace that stretched the Swain lead to 16-8. With the score 19-11 senior Jenna Marr took over scoring on 3 kills a block and an ace to close out the set 25-12.
It is easy to keep up with big stats like kills, but what most casual fans don’t see is the total team effort that goes into those stats. Swain got solid and consistent play all night long on the back row, which was the key to the win, from Kele Eagleman, Brayden Taylor and Mazie Helpman. Their solid passing allowed Swain setter Kierston Smith to provide the hitters with solid sets.
In the end Marr and Savana Smith finished with 21 and 20 kills respectively, while Hannah Epperson had 7 (Stats are unofficial). But it all started with the solid play of the back row and good passing from Eagleman, Taylor and Helpman in particular and solid setting from Kierston Smith.
In other matches on the evening. Cherokee took the Junior Varsity match 2-1 by the scores of 25-17, 22-25 and 15-11. Swain Middle School took the opening win 2-0, in a tight match, by the scores of 25-23 and 25-20.