MINFORD — How you start can often times make an impact on how you finish, if your mindset is consistent throughout the course of the game.
Just ask the Minford Lady Falcons.
In their Division III sectional semifinal game versus Rock Hill on Tuesday, the Lady Falcons managed early leads in each of their three set wins — and quite simply never looked back.
The result was a three-set sweep of the visiting Redwomen (25-8, 25-12, 25-6) — and another opportunity to further their season another game.
Minford interim coach Rebecca Greene said following the win her team’s focus heading into its final home game was starting at a high level — and staying there.
“We really worked on some things the last few days in practice, really tried to utilize and capitalize on the things we were working on,” Greene said. “They came out with a little bit of fire. Sometimes we play up and down, tonight we really focused on playing up, consistently staying up, and our communication.”
Minford senior Livi Shonkwiler and her six senior teammates, along with a cast of rotating underclassmen, help make up the Lady Falcons’ 2020 roster.
Shonkwiler said following the win it was important for her team to have a high energy-level going into and during the game to ensure they’d come out on the right side.
“We just want to do our best,” Shonkwiler said. “The more energy we have, the better we play. That also helps alot.”
Senior Ally Coriell led the Lady Falcons with a team-high 12 kills and a team-high five ace serves.
Junior Macy Puckett added six kills in the win, in addition to her team-high six digs.
Freshmen Kynedi Davis and Katie Strickland, as well as Shonkwiler, each totaled three kills apiece to aid Minford’s chances at the net.
On the defensive side, senior Ezra Veach and Shonkwiler both added five digs apiece.
Shonkwiler passed the 1,000-career assist plateau during her junior season, but again made history as the Lady Falcons’ senior setter in Tuesday’s victory.
Following the three-set win, Shonkwiler was recognized as tallying her 1,655th career assist and counting — a new all-time career mark for assists in a Minford uniform.
With the win, Minford advances to Saturday’s sectional final — where they will face the Zane Trace Lady Pioneers.
Zane Trace finished in third place in a strong Scioto Valley Conference race with a 10-4 record versus league opponents.
A Minford win would put the Lady Falcons’ program back in the Division III district tournament for the second consecutive campaign.
After having faced Zane Trace in a preseason match, Greene and Shonkwiler noted the strengths of the Lady Pioneers — and what they need to do to come away with back-to-back sectional championships.
“We’re really going to have to work hard this week,” Greene said. “We scrimmaged them (Zane Trace) in the preseason, so we know a little bit about them — seen some film on them. We’ve got some things we want to work on. But we’re going to have to want it, work really hard, and come out and play our best game because they’re a good team.”
“Zane Trace is a really good team,” Shonkwiler said. “Our back row needs to be extra strong, they’ve got some really good hitters. We just need to keep practicing and getting better because they’re really good.”
Zane Trace will host Minford for a Division III sectional final on Saturday at 1 p.m.
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