When the Highland Lady Bulldogs and the Triad Knights get together on the volleyball court, there is no such thing as a cakewalk or easy match.
Such was the case as HHS needed two-point at the end of the first game to hold off a determined Triad club and then used a late surge in the second game to battle past the Knights for a hard-earned 26-24, 25-17 Mississippi Valley Conference victory Tuesday, Sept. 17, at Highland High School.
Highland assistant coach Kristen Torre was pleased with the all-around effort the Lady Bulldogs showed from start to finish in stopping the Knights.
“I mean I think that we came out with a purpose and a mission from point one and it was very good to see everybody connecting on the court, everybody wanting to touch the ball and everybody having confidence in the players next to them to get the job done,” Torre said.
In the opening game, HHS surged to an 8-4 lead behind the serving of Claire Korte and the hitting of Bella LaPorta.
Lauren Johnson’s serving allowed Triad to catch the Lady Bulldogs at 17-17 and move to a three-point lead at 20-17.
Claire Korte dropped a serving ace to cap a three-point run tying it at 20-20, and the Bulldogs held a 24-22 lead with LaPorta serving, but the Knights railed to get the next two points and knot it at 24.
The Knights lost their chance to win on Lexi Hays’ serve as it faulted and Anne Marie Beckmeyer and Taylor Kesner combined on a block at the net to finish the first game out for HHS at 26-24.
“We just really tried to work together, and I think our passing got a lot better. We were just hitting different spots, trying different stuff, and I think that it really worked for us,” said LaPorta.
The second game saw both clubs trade shots and rallies during the first 13 points. A 7-1 run fueled by the serving of Korte and Olivia Wilke pushed HHS out to a 21-14 lead.
“I just thought like every time I make a serve over (the net) and everyone was screaming, cheering, and it was giving me even more confidence to get my next serve over,” Wilke said. “It’s always a competitive game with them (Triad).”
Triad (6-8, 1-1) never got closer than five points the rest of the way. The Knights, who had won its last three of its last five matches, are still looking to find a way to consistently close out matches.
“We were’ in it the whole time and we definitely had chances to pull through tonight,” Triad coach Jami Parker said. “Highland played really well and they came out on top tonight. We’re in every match every night and right now we’re just trying to find the confidence to come through at the end of a match.”
Winners of four of their last five matches, HHS appears to be getting on a good roll at 8-3 (1-0).
“I think we’re meshing really well together right now, and we’re getting comfortable running different things and having leaders step up on the court and expect to win,” Torre said.
The Lady Bulldogs return to action Saturday, Sept. 21, at Charleston in the Charleston Tournament.