The Lady Raiders are beginning to gel as a unit according to head volleyball coach Patricia Flowers. They eased by Rhea County 25-13 and 25-19 before having to come back from a late-game deficit in the final game to win the sweep 27-25.
“The girls are kind of in the zone right now. They are playing well,” Flowers said after the win. They are starting to gel.”
Consistency in the lineup and on the service line had played a large role in the recent success of the Lady Raiders.
“This is the first time this season we have had a consistent lineup, and they are starting to get comfortable with it,” said Flowers.
“We’ve also been serving well. We’re serving effectively. We had eight aces tonight and that is quite a few for a district match. But, we’re not so much concerned about the aces as we are about serving effectively, so we can hit it to them rather than them hitting it to us.”
Kellee Geren, Jessica Murray, Eva Wilhelm and K.K. Clements all served up aces along with Kayla Lee, who finished off Rhea County with a net ace.
Cleveland was led on the court by Marissa Langford who blasted kill after kill at the Lady Eagles.
“At Soddy-Daisy she had 23 kills and she had 16 kills tonight. She’s really been getting up there,” said Flowers of her big hitter.
After making changes between the second and third games, Flowers watched as the Lady Raiders gave up a 9-1 lead to the Lady Eagles. Minutes later Rhea scored seven straight points to take an 18-13 advantage.
Trailing 24-21, a block by Qeturah Abdullah Muhammad sent Lee to the service line. Lee opened with an ace to cut it to two and tied the game at 24-24 with another ace. A Hale kill made it 26-25 in favor of the Lady Raiders and Lee locked up the win with a serve that fell harmlessly to the floor after tipping the top of the nylon.
“We did a little change-up in the third game. Usually when you do a change-up you expect a few things to be off and the points not to be like they were the first two games. But, we were able to go back to what we were doing and work it out,” said Flowers.
Geren closed out her night with three aces, 13 digs and 25 assists. Langford added five digs to her 16 kills and Abdullah-Muhammad cracked four kills, four digs and a pair of blocks. Hale booked eight kills and nine digs while Wilhelm notched 27 digs and 23 receptions to go with Murray’s ace, 13 receptions, 17 digs and three kills.