DARLINGTON – Laura Steiner made sure the Redbirds’ homecoming celebration got off to a good start.
The senior middle hitter turned in a strong night at the net and at the service line to help Darlington tame the visiting Boscobel Bulldogs, 25-20, 25-23, 25-21, for a SWAL sweep in prep volleyball action at DHS on Tuesday, Sept. 27.
Steiner pounded down a match-high 12 kills, recorded a team-best seven blocks and added three service aces to lead the Redbirds (4-7-1 overall, 2-6 in SWAL) to their second SWAL win of the season and their first sweep in league play since 2006.
“This was good for us. We’ve had a couple of tough losses, so I feel as though this win will help us in the second half of our season,” said Darlington head coach Pam Ritchie. “We have a lot of big matches coming up, so this was a good victory for us to get.”
Steiner got the ‘Birds rolling at the service line in set up, belting three aces during a six-point run to turn a 6-5 lead into a 12-5 advantage. The Bulldogs (0-8) closed the gap to 22-17 late in the set, but a pair of Boscobel hitting errors and another ace by Steiner lifted the hosts to a 25-20 decision.
Set two was another tight affair with Steiner registering a pair of late kills to allow the ‘Birds to pull out a 25-23 win, and Darlington rode that momentum into set three where they jumped ahead by a score of 20-11 to put the ‘Dawgs in a deep hole.
The Bulldogs scratched their way back to 24-21 before the Redbirds recorded the final point for the set and the match.
“I was pretty excited about the way Laura and Haily (McGowan) were hitting for us,” noted Ritchie. “Laura was really on tonight and our blocking was very good. This was only Brianna Reichling’s second match at middle hitter and I thought she did a great job.”
Setter Cassidy Chambers handed out 16 assists for the ‘Birds, and Abigail Merriam led the hosts with 16 digs. Mikayla Riley added four aces and Emily Salathe had two aces for Darlington at the line.
Darlington has SWAL matches at Riverdale on Thursday, Oct. 6, and at home against Cuba City on Tuesday, Oct. 11.
On Saturday, Oct. 8, the Redbirds will host their annual Darlington Invitational Tournament, starting at 9 a.m.
Boscobel........… 20 23 21
Darlington…….. 25 25 25