MASON, W.Va. — It was a little messier than normal, but the Lady Eagles still got to break out their brooms.
Host Wahama put up a valiant effort, but the Eastern volleyball team ultimately came away with a season sweep Monday night during a hard-fought 25-22, 25-16, 25-22 victory in a Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division contest in Mason County.
The Lady Eagles (12-9, 8-7 TVC Hocking) had few troubles during the middle game, but it was the opener and the finale that kept things interesting — at least for the Lady Falcons.
Wahama (4-12, 3-11) scored the first point in all three games and jumped out to early leads in both Game 1 and Game 3, which forced EHS to have to rally back throughout the rest of the contest. The Green and Gold, however, came up with all the right answers to wrap up their second consecutive 3-0 match decision over the hosts.
Following the triumph, EHS coach Katie Williams offered praise in regards to the opposition — and was also thankful to be leaving the Mountain State with the decision.
“First off, Wahama has improved a ton. They really came out and gave us all we could handle tonight,” Williams said. “At the same time, we were not on our game. We just didn’t have that positive vibe, that energy, that we have to have to play well. We have plenty of talent, but we struggle when we don’t play with that spark.
“I’m hoping it’s the nerves of the final week of the regular season, but we have to play with more energy as we start heading into the tournament. It’s a win, but we need to keep working on getting better.”
Conversely, WHS coach Matt VanMeter was proud of the way his troops battled against one of the more proven programs in the region.
“We played really hard, and I can live with that kind of effort from the kids — regardless of what the outcome was,” VanMeter said. “We had them where we wanted them in a couple of those games, but we gave them too many free balls. When you give a team that hits the ball so well that many kill chances, it will come back to bite you.
“Once we started hitting the ball back at them, they struggled to dig it out the same way that we do. I think we learned some things about ourselves tonight and we gave a really good effort against a pretty relevant program. It wasn’t a win, but I also think we came away with a lot of positives tonight.”
The Red and White jumped out to early leads of 5-0 and 16-10 in the opener, but Eastern rallied to knot things up at 22-all before scoring the final three points for a 1-0 match advantage.
Wahama stretched a 3-all tie out to a 7-3 edge in the second contest, but the Lady Eagles countered with six straight points (9-7) before going on an 11-3 surge for a 20-10 cushion. The Lady Falcons never came closer than seven points (23-16) as EHS took a 2-0 match lead with the nine-point decision.
The hosts again jumped out to an early 4-1 lead, but Eastern answered with 10 of the next 14 points en route to an 11-7 edge. The Lady Falcons countered with 13 of the next 22 points to knot things up at 20-all, but they ultimately never got over the hump.
Eastern scored five of the final seven points to wrap up the three-point triumph and the 3-0 match decision.
Morgain Little led the EHS service attack with 15 points, followed by Morgan Baer with 10 points and Kelsey Johnson with nine points. Annalisa Boano was next with four points, while Makenzie Brooks and Katlyn Barber respectively added three and two points. Elayna Bissell also had one service point for the victors.
Brooks and Barber led the net attack with 10 kills apiece, followed by Johnson with nine kills and Boano with six kills. Barber and Boano respectively paced the defense with 11 digs and nine digs, while Baer dished out a team-high 18 assists.
Olivia Hill led the Wahama service attack with eight points, followed by Emmalee Broyles with seven points and Elizabeth Mullins with six points. Madison VanMeter and Grace Hill also had five points and two points for the hosts.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.