By Brad Morris
WILLIAMSPORT — Behind every good offense is a great defense.
That was the case for Adena on Tuesday, as the Warriors controlled the tempo of a Scioto Valley Conference match with their consistent play to defeat host Westfall 25-22, 25-18 and 25-15.
“Adena was the most consistent team and that’s why they won the match in three sets,” Westfall coach Jessica Sullivan said. “Our serve-receive struggled and we were very inconsistent, overall, on defense. We didn’t communicate as well as we needed to and that makes you look slower on the court, because you’re not able to cover as much of it.”
The Warriors (17-1, 12-1) swept the season-series from the Mustangs (12-3, 9-2) and clinched a share of their first conference title since 2016.
Adena used an effective double block to limit Westfall senior Kristin Phillips to just nine kills, five of which were in the third set, when the Warriors had already captured complete control of the match.
“Adena was very solid defensively and that includes at the net with their blocking,” Sullivan said. “Part of it goes back to struggling with our serve-receive, which makes it harder for us to get into our offense and gives them plenty of time to set their block up.”
Adena jumped out to an 8-3 lead in the opening set, but the Mustangs scored six of the next seven points — thanks to three kills from Marissa Mullins and one courtesy of Ashley Hegarty — to tie the match at 9-9.
Adena seized the lead for good at 14-13 on a hitting error by the Mustangs and secured the early match lead on a kill from Sydney Foglesong on set point.
An 11-5 run in the second set allowed the Warriors to take an 18-12 lead. Foglesong went on to record set point to give Adena a 2-0 lead in the match.
Adena took a 10-5 lead in the third set and didn’t look back as it closed out the sweep.
The Mustangs travel to Zane Trace (15-5, 10-3) on Thursday for a conference game. Westfall won the first meeting in four sets, but Zane Trace is perhaps the hottest team in the conference right now after going to Frankfort last Thursday to defeat Adena in four sets, and then handing Miami Trace its first loss of the season on Monday, also in four sets.
Adena will look to secure the outright SVC title on Thursday when it hosts Huntington (14-6, 8-4).
Sullivan wants to see the Mustangs finish the regular-season strong and then put together a tournament run. Westfall was seeded fourth out of 31 teams in the Division III district tournament and, if the seeds hold up, would face tournament rival and third-seeded Alexander (14-3) in a district final.
“I’m disappointed in the loss, because our girls work hard, they’re a good group to coach and I know we are a lot better than we showed against Adena,” Sullivan said. “There is another level I know we can reach that we haven’t played at this season, and we need to do that if we want to make a tournament run.
“Hopefully we’ll learn from this loss and become more of a consistent team all-around and communicate better on the floor.”
Kills – Marissa Mullins, 11; Kristin Phillips, 9; Ashley Hegarty, 6
Assists – Claire Latham, 28
Aces – Lauren Daniels, 2
Digs – Marissa Mullins, 21; Claire Latham, 9; Grace Wolfe, 8; Lauren Daniels, 8; Gabby Patete, 7; Kristin Phillips, 5; Ashley Hegarty, 5