Squaws overcome slow start, sweep Lady Jets at home
With 42 sectional titles between them and both gunning for a state title run in their respective classes, Bellmont and Adams Central's county-rival grudge match on the volleyball court lived up to the billing.
For one set at least.
Despite a spirited effort from the Lady Jets in the opening set, Bellmont won a decisive three-set sweep at the Teepee 25-18, 25-12, 25-19.
AC was fiery in the first set jumping out to an 11-6 lead forcing a Bellmont timeout and an animated Jet crowd featuring several students in super hero costumes on their feet.
Coach Craig Krull would calmly set his squad straight, however, and the Squaws went from a team making mental mistakes to a title contender rising to a challenge. From that point on in set one, the Squaws outscored AC 19-7 taking the opening point and sending a message to the visiting Jets.
"I have liked our mental toughness so far this season," noted coach Krull. "I told them before the game that the opening eight points or so would be adrenaline-filled because of this rivalry and after the tide settled a bit I thought we came out and really played to our potential."
AC coach Ashley Beard had a different opinion on the outcome of the first set.
"I'm not sure what it is about Bellmont but we just have a mental block when we play them," explained Beard. "We had a lead on them in the first but then they came out and scored a few in a row and we just started to play scared. That's not like us at all and we became our own worst enemy on the court."
With the score 23-18 in the first set, junior hitter Janaya Wilder took matters into her own hands leaving no doubt of the outcome of the first set with an ace and then a big swinging kill down the sideline.
"Janaya's been struggling with her hitting to start the season but it was nice to see her confidence back tonight. She was really hitting the ball well."
Another Squaw stroking the ball nicely was Holly Hankenson. Several of her hits throughout the match were timed well enough to shoot seemingly straight down to the ground despite the AC blockers' best efforts. Hankenson ended with 14 kills to lead the Squaws with Wilder nabbing eight.
The kill count was lower than normal for Bellmont as the Lady Jets seemed out of sorts on their serve receive making several mental mistakes in the second and third games.
"I have no doubt that we'll come back into the gym on Monday and these girls will buckle down and figure out our kinks," explained coach Beard. "I'm not sure at all why we couldn't get the serve to our setters. We misplayed too many balls and gave up too many aces."