LIMA — Even though it was Lima Senior’s first game of the season, second-year head coach Kendra Turner has already seen a transformation in this year’s squad after the Spartans defeated Spencerville, 3-1, in a nonleague affair Tuesday night.
“We always start slow and we have a hard time finishing so it was awesome to see them finish,” Turner said. “Our offense is just a total 180 from last year. I’ve got seven or eight returners so that is huge and the cohesiveness has totally changed also.”
Like her counterpart, Spencerville head coach Amy Hoback was also encouraged by her team’s play despite the loss.
“My girls didn’t give up and they kept trying,” said the second-year Spencerville head coach who is still laying the foundation for the Bearcat volleyball program. “We are trying to get better from last season and tonight to me they proved to me whether they are down or not down in the score that their momentum stayed up and they didn’t give up.”
Spencerville falls to 0-2 after dropping their season opener to Cory-Rawson on Monday.
Because it is so early in the season both team’s struggled with consistency, however, it was the Spartans who appeared to put things together as the night went on.
One of the most positive signs Turner saw came in the first match. After the two teams battled back and forth, Spencerville held 24-21 and was one point away from garnering the first set. However, the Spartans, behind the play of Ti’Ara Spivey’s tips and serves, reeled off the next five points to snatch the victory away from the Bearcats.
Spivey’s tipping would account for numerous valuable points for the Spartans throughout the night. The senior setter finished with 12 tips for points and recorded five aces.
In addition to Spivey’s contribution Turner also pointed out the production from Sophie Jolliff who recorded 10 kills on offense and assisted in blocks on defense. Taja Oglesbee and Cheyanne Bean were also instrumental up front defensively.
“We worked solely on defense this past week and I am so proud of how they went after balls and Haley Williams did amazing,” Turner said. “Again it is a total 180 from last year.”
Riding the momentum of the thrilling first game win, the Spartans dominated the second set with a 25-15 victory. Lima Senior’s net play coupled with big kills and serves from Lauren Zell. Spencerville did itself no favors by having numerous unforced errors and miss hits. Tied at 12-12, the Spartans would outscore the Bearcats, 13-3 to close out the second game.
Undeterred by the lose, the Bearcats battled in the third set to post a 25-18 win.
“We obviously would like to get some more wins but we have young girls coming up and we did not have varsity or jv program and we are taking time and building and the girls are being patient,” Hoback said. “Sometimes it is hard for girls to understand that building a program but they are buying into it and it showed tonight.”
In the fourth and clinching set, Lima Senior seemed to be finding its rhythm offensively as the Spartans behind multiple kills from Lexi Williams, Taja Oglesbee and Cheyanne Bean, grabbed a 22-18 lead. But Spencerville rallied to tie the game at 23-23 before the Spartans collected the final two points for the victory.