On a night when the Highland Bulldogs senior volleyball players competed on their home court for the final time, it was the Mascoutah Indians who ended up posing for the pictures.
Senior outside hitter Megan Lindsay led a balanced Indians attack with nine kills as Mascoutah wrapped up a second straight undefeated Mississippi Valley Conference season with a 25-21, 25-15 win on Thursday at Highland High School.
Highland (22-11, 6-4), trailed 17-12 midway through game one, but rallied behind the play of Hayley McSparin. A pair of kills, one from McSparin tied the game at 21. But after a sideout, Mascoutah senior Paige Weiss helped give her team the lead and the momentum for the rest of the night.
With Mascoutah leading 22-21, Weiss served an ace and when Lindsay hit a winning kill just inside the baseline, Mascoutah had a 24-21 advantage. A missed Bulldogs kill then gave Mascoutah the first game of the night.
A four-point service run by Kamrynn Voypick and a three-point run by Weiss helped break open game two and the Indians (24-6) put the match away on a block and a kill by Tieghan Morio and a Highland hitting error.
The win gives Mascoutah a perfect 10-0 record in the rugged Mississippi Valley Conference for the second straight season. The Indians are 28-2 in MVC play over the last three years.
Following the win, the Indians players and coaches gathered on the court as family members and friends took pictures of the champions.
“It means a lot because we’ve really worked hard for this all year,’’ Weiss said. “We knew coming into the match tonight that Highland is a good team and with it being their senior night, we knew they would really be out to win. I’m just proud of my teammates. We really wanted the undefeated (conference) chanpionship.”
While Lindsay, Weiss, Morio and the rest of the Indians all had a part of the win on Thursday, the difference was clearly the Indians consistrent play and serving according to coach Todd Gober.
“We told the girls before the match that this one was going to be won at the service line. We wanted to serve fast and deep keep their hitters away. McSparin is a real threat and they (Highland) have a number of big hitters. Plus they are a very good team which is well coached and they’re having a good season,” Gober said. “We just try to play good consistent volleyball. I think it you can do that, it will eventually wear a team down. I had a feeling we would play well. The girls had that look in their eyes. I know this means a lot to them.”
Mascoutah led just 14-12 in the second game when Voypick stepped to the service line. A missed kill and net violation ran the score to 16-12 and when 6-foot middle blocker Lacey Albers scored on a kill, the Indians lead had ballooned to 17-12.
Highland scored twice on an Indians hitting error and a kill by Sarah Beth Wiegman to cut its deficit to 17-14. But an ace by Weiss, a kill by Albers and back-to-back Bulldogs hitting errors put the match away.