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The West Brunswick High School volleyball team opened its season by beating South Columbus 25-15, 27-25, 25-15 in a non-conference match Aug. 20 at West.
“It was a good first match,” West coach Leslie Reeves said. “South Columbus is a good team. They’re very scrappy. They have some really good hitters on the outside. So it was a very competitive match.”
For West, junior setter Sumner Russ had 14 assists. She completed 10 of 12 serves and scored seven points. Junior setter Katie Simmons had 17 assists. She completed 16 of 18 serves and scored 10 points.
Senior Olivia Babson had seven blocks and 14 kills. She had seven digs. Senior Meeka Hewett had eight kills and 12 digs. Junior Bethany Morrison completed 13 of 17 serves and scored nine points. She had seven kills.
Junior defender Bre Benton was perfect on 16 serves and scored 12 points. She had nine digs.
“I feel our girls stepped up, especially in the second game,” Reeves said. “They didn’t let game point for them put them down and they came back and won it. And they came back out in the third game and did a good job.”
In the first set, Simmons had two aces as she served the Trojans to a 7-1 lead. Babson and Hewett also had kills.
Hewett hit two aces in a 3-0 run that extended the West lead to 14-5.
After an exchange of sideouts, Benton held serve for five points as West took a 20-6 lead.
The second set was a tussle to the end. Neither team could sustain a rally. The Stallions led 24-23 and were serving for the victory but Morrison scored a point to tie the score 24-24.
West gained a point off a Stallion error and was serving for the victory but the Stallions fended off the point and tied the score 25-25.
West regained the lead 26-25 on a block and won the set 27-25 on a cross-court kill by Babson.
West dominated early in the third set. An ace by Simmons and two blocks by Babson gave West a 3-0 lead. An ace by Simmons made the score 5-0.
The Stallions rallied and cut the lead to 9-7, causing Reeves to call a timeout.
The lead was 13-11 when an error by the Stallions led to a West sideout. With Benton serving, the Trojans took a 20-11 lead. In the run, Babson and Morrison combined for a block. Morrison followed with a cross-court kill. Babson had two more hits in the run.
West went on to win the set and the match on a kill by Hewett.
West is using a new alignment this season.
“We lost three seniors who were crucial parts of our team,” Reeves said. “We will greatly miss them. But we got some young ones who have stepped up. We changed our offense from a 5-1 to a 6-2.”
The new offense will take advantage of West’s experienced hitters.
“The 6-2 gives you three hitters at all times at the net,” Reeves said. “So it gives you more options.”
Reeves became West’s head coach in 2003 and this season will be one of transition for her and the Trojans, as they play in a new 4A/3A conference that includes teams from Wilmington.
“We are going into a very tough volleyball conference,” Reeve said, “a lot of powerhouses that contend for state championships. The competition level is going to be fierce. We can’t sit back on our heels. We got to be on our toes in every game this season.
“If we can be fundamentally sound, we can be competitive. I want to be a good defensive team. Being a good defensive team in this conference will keep you in the games.”
West beat South Columbus 25-19, 25-14. Maddi Emmons had nine service points. Hannah Pugh had seven service points. Skylar Wickel had four aces and six service points.