MINFORD — The Lady Falcons of Minford finished a busy week of three matches in four days with a five-set Senior Night victory over the visiting Portsmouth West Lady Senators on Thursday.
Minford’s 3-2 win (25-23, 22-25, 25-23, 14-25, 15-5) improves its record to 4-2 — two games above .500 — after finishing 2-1 in its three Southern Ohio Conference Division II games this week.
The Lady Falcons defeated visiting Oak Hill in their return to play after the weekend, and fell to Northwest in three narrow sets a day later.
In discussing their Senior Night win, Falcons coach Rachel Stapleton said her team played well enough in sets one, three and five to come away with the victory — but were unable to put together three straight sets of the level of volleyball needed for a clean sweep.
“Our passing was so inconsistent, but in game five that’s one of the things that we did, which makes everything else look so much better,” Stapleton said. “The girls are hustling and not giving up. Really, we just struggle to play consistently. We look really hot for a few points, and then we get down. I thought in the games that we won we played well consistently, and then we just got in a rut in the other games.”
In addition to honoring its volleyball seniors, Minford honored its boys and girls soccer seniors at the Falcons’ soccer complex on the campus of Minford Middle School.
At the high school gymnasium, the Lady Falcons honored their seven seniors, some of whom have been playing vital roles for the Lady Falcons nearly their entire high school careers.
Stapleton spoke to the character of seniors Livi Shonkwiler, Ally Coriell, McKenna Higbee, Micah Thacker, Katie Rice, Ezra Veach and Teegan Clarkson following the win.
“I don’t think you’d find a nicer group of kids,” Stapleton said of her senior class. “They’re great teammates to each other, hard workers that show up; they’re working every day to still improve. Even with COVID and all the things that are going on, even if they’re not in the starting lineup, they’re on the sidelines cheering and doing everything. It’s really one of the best groups of seniors I’ve ever had.”
Statistically leading the Lady Falcons were some of those same seniors.
Shonkwiler, Minford’s setter who has already passed 1,000 career assists during her junior year, had a team-high 32 assists and four service aces.
Coriell had a team-high 23 kills while Higbee finished with 10.
Thacker led the Lady Falcons defensively with four blocks.
As the Lady Falcons vie for a spot in the top half of the SOC II standings and a return to the Division III district tournament, Stapleton mentioned that for her team to continue and even improve their trajectory in the second week of the season, their work will be focused on continuing to improve their consistency for an entire match — start to finish.
“Our big hurdle is the mental side of the game,” Stapleton said. “Being present and active in the game at all moments, knowing that every ball is a point. And just trying to keep the consistency in our passing. Passing is the key to most everything you do on the court. I think we’re pushing toward that, and we’re trying to find what rotation works. Everyone’s been more open to that.”
Minford will travel to Waverly on Tuesday in SOC II play, before hosting South Webster on Thursday.
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved