RUTHERFORDTON — The Lady Hilltoppers are starting to heat up as they walked away with their third straight sweep Tuesday night (Sept. 20) against the CHASE Trojans. The Hilltoppers welcomed the Trojans to the Palace but the Trojans’ welcome wore out quickly as they were sent packing after three short sets. Led by seniors, Hannah Newton and Aziyah Rudisill, the Hilltoppers kept the ball screaming past the Trojans all night.
Head coach Ryan Sherburne was proud of his girls and hopes to keep the momentum rolling against Hendersonville.
“We got a little complacent,” said Sherburne. “We kept it together in the first set but the second set we sort of forgot what got us here. We started to let it slip away but we bounced back and got it taken care of. We have Hendersonville next and it is always hard playing on the road so we are just going to practice as hard as we can and hopefully come out with the victory there as well.”
The first set started off pretty evenly matched with both teams tallying one or two points apiece with Central only jumping out to a 7-4 lead. Libero Lani Warren served up 4 straight points for the Hilltoppers including an ace and then a kill from Rudisill. The Trojans were not able to catch their footing while the Hilltoppers jumped out to a 19-6 lead.
The Lady Trojans lit a quick fire as Kinsley King led a 4-point run with an ace and a kill from Carissa Bailey. The Hilltoppers reclaimed possession and ended the set with a 6-point run, including two kills from Lauren Cook and one from Newton making the score 25-10.
Motivated from the first set, the Lady Trojans came out firing in the second set taking a quick 5-1 lead over the Hilltoppers. The ladies traded points back and forth with the Trojans maintaining a 14-9 lead. Sophomore Madison Ross got behind the ball for the Hilltoppers, serving up 4 straight points and tying the game 14-14. The Hilltoppers took and held onto the lead to end the second set by a score of 25-22.
With a 2-0 lead, the Hilltoppers never looked back, sprinting through the third set. After keeping the score even at 5-5, Savannah Lail put on a dominate performance with her serves. Combined with three kills from Rudisill, Lail served up 9 points for the Hilltoppers, taking a 15-6 lead. Newton turned up the intensity in the final possessions of the match, recording three kills in the Hilltoppers last 8 points, helping solidify the 25-12 victory in the third set.
Even though they got the job done, R-S Central’s Hannah Newton says they could have done better.
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“I don’t think we played to the best of our ability,” said Newton. “I do think that we kept the intensity up well and we were able to come out on top and that is what matters. I felt like I was swinging well and was just trying to find open spots on the floor to help out the team.”
The Trojans head coach, Sarah Morrow, thinks the energy just was not up to par.
“I thought we looked kind of sluggish,” said Morrow. “We had a slow start coming out for sure and I just think the energy was not up today. I want us to play our game on our side and I don’t think they were able to do that tonight. We have to work on being quicker to the ball. We have to get down and anticipate those quicker plays on the other side.”
The Hilltoppers (8-6, 2-4 Mountain Conference 7) will attempt to continue their winning streak as they travel to Hendersonville on Thursday (Sept. 22). The Trojans (2-9, 0-6 MF7) will have a short break before trying to find their groove as they make another cross county visit to East Rutherford on Tuesday (Sept. 27).
CHASE 10 22 12 — 0
R-S Central 25 25 25 — 3