SHULLSBURG – Both Belmont and Shullsburg went into last Tuesday’s showdown searching for their first conference victory, but only the Miners found it.
Shullsburg bounced back from an early 1-0 deficit to win three straight sets and take down the visiting Braves, 3-1, in a Six Rivers Conference Western Division volleyball match at SHS on Tuesday, Sept. 6.
“We really got a good look at what we can accomplish when all facets of the game are in order. It was truly a team effort. There wasn’t one girl who had a bad night. They were all on,” said Shullsburg coach Elizabeth Timm. “The key was we were able to pick ourselves up and fix our mistakes quickly, which allowed our offense to work.”
Belmont (1-6 overall, 0-3 in SRW) looked ready to run away with the match early on after rolling over the Miners, 25-16, in the opening set.
The Braves jumped out to a quick 8-1 advantage on the serving of Cassie McCarthy, but the Miners fought back to tie the game at 11 all. McCarthy put the guests back into the lead with a pair of spike kills, then put the finishing touches on the victory with a service ace for the game-winner.
“We came out looking very strong, and we just didn’t play our game after game one,” noted Belmont coach Megan Richardson. “We made a lot of hitting errors in games two through four. We couldn’t get the setters and hitters to connect.”
The Miners (2-5-1, 1-3) came back with a late rally in set two to tie the match at a game apiece. Trailing 17-16 in the set, the hosts reeled off nine of the final 11 points to earn a 25-19 win. Following a Molly Blackbourn spike kill that got the Miners to game point, junior Blaire Lutes fired home an ace to end the game.
The Miners held off the Braves, 25-23, in game three to take a 2-1 advantage in the match, then rode that momentum into set four where they cruised to a 25-15 decision to lock up the match.
Lutes added a spike kill for the game-winner in set three, while senior Morgan McComish served up the final four points for the Miners in set four.
“I was pleased with how the girls worked together to come back after dropping the first game. You could really tell they wanted the win. Their communication was the best I’ve seen all season, which allowed us to make the plays we needed to keep the momentum,” Timm commented.
Junior Stephanie Roberts paced the Miners with 10 kills. Blackbourn added eight kills and two blocks for the hosts, while Lutes led the team with four aces.
McComish handed out 28 assists for the Miners, and sophomore Nicole Champion was in position for a team-high 24 digs.
Senior Kailee Kamps led the Braves with nine kills, 19 assists and 12 digs. Keegan Kamps had three blocks and McCarthy two, while Mckenzie Kamps recorded three aces and Molly Bockhop added 11 digs for the guests.
“We are such a great team. I know a win is around the corner for us,” said Richardson.
Belmont hosts Cassville on Monday, Sept. 19, and Benton on Tuesday, Sept. 20, in SRW action.
At Potosi, on Thursday, Sept. 8, the host Chieftains made quick work of the Miners on the way to a SRW sweep, 25-14, 25-6, 25-12.
Stephanie Roberts (four kills, one block) and Molly Blackbourn (three kills, one block) led the effort at the net. Morgan McComish had eight assist and Holly Rennert had two service aces, while Nicole Champion (nine digs) and Roberts (eight) paced the defense.
Next up, Shullsburg hosts Highland on Tuesday, Sept. 20.
Belmont…..… 25 19 23 15
Shullsburg…. 16 25 25 25
Shullsburg… 14 6 12
Potosi……… 25 25 25