BEAVER — It may seem obvious to anyone who has witnessed them play, but the strength of this year’s Portsmouth West Senators volleyball team is its youth — as well as its ability to channel its energy and athleticism.
With a roster breakdown that features one senior, four juniors, three sophomores and four freshmen, the future is certainly bright for the West volleyball program.
However, so is the present.
By defeating host Eastern in four sets (25-19, 22-25, 25-15, 25-19) in Southern Ohio Conference Division II play on Wednesday, West has already clinched a double-digit win total this season — improving their record to 10-7.
It is also the fourth win for the Lady Senators in the last 10 calendar days — after posting a 3-1 record during last week’s games.
First-year Senators coach Megan Artrip said following the win how important it was for her team to bounce back strong after a three-set loss to Waverly on Monday.
“I feel like they all played really well,” Artrip said. “We had a really tough loss on Monday — we just weren’t there mentally. It was nice to see that they came back and played how they were playing before. I have some young girls, and they’ve really stepped up. I was really proud of all of them.”
West took set one over Eastern by scoring the last five set points, after holding a 20-19 lead just minutes prior.
In set two, the Lady Senators trailed for most of the set after a strong Lady Eagles’ start.
After West tied things up at 21-all, Eastern managed to score four of the last five points to even the match at 1-1.
Using its momentum from closing the gap to end set two, West took an early lead in sets three and four — never looking back en route to its 10th victory this season.
“Momentum really helped us out,” Artrip said. “That first game that was what we fed off of, the second game we played from behind the whole set. We came out in the third set and took momentum and it carried right into the fourth — some key plays from our girls. A freshman, Emily Moore, kept them on their toes by hitting one way and switching it up and going the other.”
Moore was West’s leading offensive player in their trip to Beaver — recording a team-high 21 kills and one block in the Senators’ four-set win.
Sophomore Maelynn Howell totaled 10 kills, four blocks and three aces in her attacking role for West, while freshman libero Emma Sayre had a team-high 18 digs.
Junior Eden Cline nearly broke double-digits in kills by finishing with nine, while also accounting for a team-high 28 assists.
As the postseason approaches, the Lady Senators’ outlook in the Southeast District seedings for Division III will be vastly improved than in recent years.
Thanks to its hard work and improvements, West will likely be looking at a top-6 seed in either the Waverly 1 or Waverly 2 districts — as it eyes the program’s first sectional championship since 2016.
Although, with regular-season games still to play and a desire to solidify a winning record during this regular season, Artrip is relaying the message to her team to continue taking each game — and day — one point at-a-time.
“We’re excited for the tournament,” Artrip said. “I’m hopeful that tonight’s win puts us in a good seed — I feel like we’re in a good place. Just have to play hard, play every point like it’s your last, because honestly, you don’t know if we’ll even get to play Thursday. That’s how we’ve approached every game, and for the most part we’ve done pretty well.”
West traveled to Northwest on Thursday seeking another win in SOC II play.
The Lady Mohawks were looking for a bounce-back win after a three-set loss to Wheelersburg on Tuesday.
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