WAVERLY — Unfortunately for the Minford Falcons, their fast start — and in turn their upset bid against Westfall on Wednesday — wouldn’t last.
The Lady Falcons raced out to a surprising 7-2 first-game lead, but — thanks to too many errors and more than enough Lady Mustang kills — Minford quickly fell further behind.
In the end, and only needing an hour, Westfall swept the Lady Falcons 25-15, 25-8 and 25-16 in a Division III district volleyball semifinal at Waverly High School.
Minford finished the season at an even 12-12, and only accounted for 18 kills and three aces in the match — 10 of which were by six-foot, four-inch middle hitter Ally Coriell.
The Falcons struggled to handle the Mustangs’ serves, as Westfall induced Minford into several attacking and hitting errors.
“Serve-receive has been something we’ve struggled with. We didn’t have a lot of confidence in it. Once it gets you down, it seems like we can’t shake off one bad receive,” said Minford coach Rachel Stapleton. “Then tonight we sent a lot of free balls instead of attacking the ball. That makes it twice as hard for us to defend when we’re giving them the free ball every time.”
The Mustang front line of Kristin Phillips, Josie Williams and Marissa Mullins combined for 34 kills, as Mullins managed three solo blocks.
As Minford made quick work of Chesapeake in Saturday’s sectional championship tilt, Westfall turned the tables on the Falcons on Wednesday.
“We just didn’t follow through with some things that we needed to do, and people weren’t in the positions they should have been in,” said Stapleton. “We struggled again for offense in that one rotation where Ally (Coriell) is out. Most people know about it. We tried to move some people around and find some scoring other places, but it just didn’t work out.”
While the Lady Falcons stood tied with Westfall in the opening game at 7-7, 8-8, 9-9 and 10-10, the Lady Mustangs — the Scioto Valley Conference champions — managed to win 15 of the final 20 points to win 25-15.
In the second, Minford held a 1-0 lead on a service error, but then a Williams kill quickly tied it — setting up the highlight of the entire bout.
The Mustangs took the lead for good when the six-foot one-inch Phillips — the SVC Player of the Year — collected her 1,000th career kill.
The Falcons only amounted seven more points in the set, as four of those were kills to lose 25-8.
Westfall never trailed in the third game, despite a 1-1 tie on a Coriell kill.
Thanks in part to four Coriell kills in the set, and a pair of aces by senior libero Maddie Slusher, Minford maintained three-point deficits of 4-1, 5-2, 6-3, 11-8, 13-10, 15-12 and finally 16-13 — but bookend kills by Phillips around a pair of Falcon errors essentially ended any hopes Minford had of forcing a fourth game.
A final hitting error ended the match with Westfall completing the sweep.
Phillips finished with 14 kills, four aces and nine digs, while Williams — the only Mustang senior — added 11 kills and set for 21 assists.
Mullins managed nine kills, as their other setter Claire Latham had 13 assists, 14 digs and four kills.
The Mustangs’ libero, Lauren Daniels, delivered 13 digs.
Slusher served up two aces, but Nicole Collier had the only other, which made it 2-0 for the Falcons in the opening game.
Collier in the third game, Ezra Veach in the second and senior Cassidy Lebrun accounted for two Minford kills apiece, but the match got away from the Falcons when Coriell checked out of the rotation after landing three kills for the 7-2 early advantage.
After a Mustang timeout, Westfall scored six straight to stake an 8-7 lead, as Mullins muscled two kills for the go-ahead.
A service and attack error allowed the Falcons a final 9-8 advantage, but two more Mullins kills made it 10-9 — and the Mustangs won 65 of the final 95 points from there.
The match marked the final for three Minford seniors — Slusher, Lebrun and Mackenzie Watters.
“It’s going to be hard losing those three girls. Maddie (Slusher) has been our libero for three years. Mackenzie Watters was our other middle hitter, and she has been a good team player just playing a different position every year where we needed somebody. And Cassidy (Lebrun) battled through some injuries to finally come on in her hitting,” said Stapleton. “We’re definitely going to miss them. I hated it that their last game ended like that and that the season is over. But winning a sectional wasn’t a bad thing.”
Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @BoggsSports © 2019 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved