WAVERLY — Mallory Bergan said it best after Thursday’s game.
One of Wheelersburg’s senior leaders, Bergan had just logged a team-high 11 kills in a conference sweep over Waverly on the road.
“[Waverly] was our toughest competition in the Southern Ohio Conference last year,” she said. “Getting the win we’ll have us pumped up and it gives us momentum. This is a big win.”
Thursday, the senior helped her Pirates beat the Tigers by a 25-17, 25-19, 25-15 final. Bergan, now well-established in the area as a household name, knows what big wins feel like.
It’s still early in the season but getting a victory at Waverly, who finished second in the SOC II last fall at 12-2, can certainly be classified in that category.
“I have to give Waverly a lot of credit. They were digging everything up tonight and we’re not used to that,” Wheelersburg coach Allen Perry said. “They brought it right back at us and that’s good to have. We both need that type of play so that we can all get better.”
While the scores may indicate a quick three-set encounter, the match was closer than what’s on paper.
The Pirates (3-0, 3-0 SOC II) built an 8-4 lead in the first set, and eventually pulled away with a 1-0 match lead behind Bergan and Kylee Barney.
In the second, after Wheelersburg shot out to a 7-3 edge, Waverly (3-2, 2-2 SOC II) battled back to close the gap to 12-11 with an 8-5 run. The rest of the set stayed close but the Pirates never trailed, holding leads of 16-12, 18-16 and 20-18 en route to the win.
Waverly went up 3-2 in the third before surrendering a 5-2 run and allowing Wheelersburg to go ahead 7-5. That set the stage for a 9-5 run, as the Pirates took a 16-10 lead, before they sealed the deal.
Bergan added four blocks to her 11 kills while Barney played well at the net, finishing with a team-high seven blocks.
“Kylee brings height and reach. So a lot of times, we try to place her and she tries to alter shots,” Perry said. “We want to get the opponent try and hit around her. Just her reach … she has a lot of length and that’s invaluable. You can’t coach that.”
Alongside Bergan and Barney, Emily Boggs finished with eight kills and 13 digs, Kaylee Darnell had 13 digs, and setter Lauren Jolly passed out 32 assists.
“I think our girls are just so determined that we do everything we can to win,” Perry said. “I think some of our serves helped and we have two hearts. Alli Mcquay is absolutely our court captain. She’s the one that’s always talking and directing on the court. Then, Mallory Bergan … those two seniors are priceless. They’ve been starting for me since I’ve been here. I don’t know what I’ll do without them next year.”
The Pirates are back in action Tuesday evening, traveling to Northwest … who’s currently 4-1.
“We get to 4-0 by doing what we do, playing solid defense and staying on the attack,” Perry said. “Tonight, Waverly could’ve turned the tides on us because they’re a good offensive team. Once you let that happen, you’re forced to play their game. We can’t do that against Northwest. If we can stay on the attack, I like our chances a lot better.”
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