LIMA – In the season opener for Allen East and Lima Senior, the two teams struggled with miscues and miss hits but in the end it was the Mustangs who overcame their mistakes to post a three set, 25-20, 26-24 and 25-18 victory over the Spartans on Tuesday night.
“We had mistakes,” Mustang head coach Laura Stratton said. “I think it was first-game jitters. But I think we came back and played a lot smarter.
Stratton added that one of the keys to the nonleague win was her team’s ability to not dwell on the miscues.
“I don’t think we got down ourselves when we had bad plays and when we came back up we stayed with each other and that what brought us back up and I think we did that tonight,” Stratton said. ”
Spartan head coach Kentra Turner said she feels the team is still in practice mode after only playing one scrimmage.
“This was kind of an eye-opening experience for most of them,” Turner said. “I’m a new coach so I do a lot of things differently and they are still trying to climb the ropes but we will get there.”
Turner added that she was encouraged by the Spartans’ performance.
“I told the girls that I literally have nothing bad to say about today. ‘You guys powered through. You played as a team.’” Turner said. I mean we are family here at Lima Senior and I told the girls be a family and don’t get down on each other.”
Both teams struggled with consistency as the two squads continually found themselves beset with unforced errors and miss hits. Perhaps the area the mistakes were most evident were in the serving. Both teams were hurt by numerous hits that went long or into the net.
Lima Senior had 10 serves that went awry and Allen East had seven.
With both teams searching for consistency, the three games were close and highly competitive.
In the first set, Allen East broke out to a quick 10-5 advantage after Mustang senior Kyra Clark delivered a hard-hitting kill to put an exclamation point on the early run. Despite some excellent defensive blocks by the Spartans’ Preshue Lowe and Taja Oglesbee, the Mustangs maintained their five-point cushion and led 17-12.
However, Lima Senior, thanks to some Mustang mistakes, chipped away at the lead and after an ace from Sa’Kiyha Matthews, the Spartans were down by one, 17-16.
Despite the comeback, Lima Senior could never grab the lead and the Mustangs outscored Lima Senior 7-4 down the stretch to win the first set.
The second set perhaps showed how the Mustangs maintained their composure despite numerous Spartan runs.
After battling back and forth throughout the set, the two teams were knotted at 20. A big block by the Spartans put Lima Senior within one point of taking the set, 24-22. However, the determined Mustangs reeled off the next four points that was highlighted by a Clark kill to snatch the win away from the Spartans.
The third set opened up even with the score tied at 8. However, the Mustangs on the strength of Clark’s solid hitting outscored the Spartans 10-4, to open up an 18-12 lead and the Spartans would never recovered as Allen East cruised to the 25-19 win.
Clark led the Mustangs with nine kills and Abby Kennedy notched five with Savannah Howard collected three.
Reach Jose Nogueras at 567-242-0468 or on twitter at @JoseNogueras1