WHEELERSBURG, Ohio — The Pirates needed four sets Wednesday to get by the South Webster Jeeps and keep pace in the SOC II conference race.
Marley Hanzel led Wheelersburg (12-5, 8-1) with 21 kills and 13 digs. Sydney Holden also had a strong night, recording 10 kills and 12 digs.
The turning point in the match occurred during the third set. After both teams split the first two sets, the Pirates led in the third 24-19, however, the Jeeps came back twice — tying the third set at 24 and then at 25 before Wheelersburg won the final two points to claim the third 27-25 and take a commanding two-set lead.
“I was very happy that they did not let down and they got the job done,” Pirates head coach Kendra Coleman said. “Here recently, we’ve been talking about getting the job done — just settling isn’t good enough, you have to do your job at all times to be successful.”
In an other wise inconsistent night, South Webster (7-10, 6-3) had an opportunity to take control of the contest after tie the contest.
“If we would have been able to pull out that third set, we might have had a different outcome,” Jeeps head coach Darcee Claxon said. “But I was proud of them for coming back, down 19-24 in the set. It would have been easy to rollover and die. They played consistently to come back but those points right there are how you have to play all the time, not just when your back’s against the wall.”
Claxon admitted her team didn’t play poorly, they just could sustain any consistency.
“There was no momentum, there was no energy out there is the best way to describe it,” Claxon said. “We would win a couple of points but we would never really capitalize off of that.
“Volleyball is a game of momentum. I kept saying, ‘we’ve got to pick it up. The crowd is louder than we are.’ You have to create your own momentum, especially on nights when you’re not at your best. They didn’t play horribly, we just have to play with more energy to be more successful … “
Colbie Hanes lead the Jeeps with 28 assists while Brooklyn Sullivan showed her versatility with 23 kills and 11 digs.
“I commend Brooklyn Sullivan,” Coleman said. “It seems every time we went right, she went left. When we went left, she went right. She had an awesome game.”
Although Wheelersburg picked up the victory, Coleman wasn’t completely satisfied with her team’s execution.
“We’re just trying to settle down and work as a team,” Coleman said. “It’s also about taking one thing at a time. Sometimes we get overwhelmed with all the excitement and everything we’re supposed to do, instead of just calming down and taking it one point at a time.”
With one conference loss on the season, which came at the hands of the Waverly Tigers, the Pirates are still in the hunt for a conference crown. However, Coleman isn’t concerned about the conference race just yet.
“We’re still in the middle of the conference race, nothing has been decided,” Coleman said. “But we’re just focused on Minford right now. That’s the only thing we care about right now.”
Wheelersburg will face Minford at home Thursday. Meanwhile, South Webster travels to Waverly. Despite having three losses in the conference play, the Jeeps aren’t forfeiting the rest of the conference season. South Webster will attempt to hand Waverly its first conference loss of the season.
“Obviously you want to make a statement going into the tournament,” Claxon said. “And why not upset somebody’s perfect run.”
Reach Chris Slone at 740-353-3101, ext 1930, or on Twitter @crslone.