From the time Bellmont senior hitter Payton Schultz recorded the first point of the night with a tip kill to the moment she concluded the scoring in the third game with appropriately enough another tip kill, the Squaws showed the Wayne Generals no mercy in virtually coasting to an extremely easy 25-8, 25-8, 25-5 win on Senior Night at the Teepee.
In between the two tips by Schultz, it took Bellmont a mere 48 minutes to post its 24th win of the year against only five setbacks and nearly 10 percent of that time occurred in game two as officials tried to unscramble a Wayne line-up problem on the floor.
Bellmont never trailed in any of the three games and the match saw all five BHS seniors convert at least 50 percent or more of their kill attempts led by Schultz who knocked down 14-20. Melissa Mailand followed with 7-13, while Erin Hunter hit 3-6, Allison Gutierrez was 1-2 and Steph Shoup was 2-2.
Bellmont coach Craig Krull simply noted there weren't "a whole lot of surprises tonight. I don't think any one player stood out over another but they all played pretty consistent. We had a spot in the second game where our serving was a little sloppy but I thought overall we got better as the match went on."
Following his tradition of starting as many seniors as possible on Senior Night, the coat and tie clad Krull (along with sneakers) went with all five seniors and sophomore Holly Hankenson at the start and noted "we knew that Wayne probably wasn't going to offer us much of a challenge (the Generals had lost in three straight to Bluffton on Monday, a team the Squaws decimated earlier in the season). Still, no matter who you play, you have to go out there and play consistently."
So dominating were the Squaws on the night was evidenced by the fact Wayne could garner only four kills in first first two games and none in the third round. Serving was again a strong point for Bellmont with the Squaws getting 16 aces on the night led by Bailee Hankenson's four and three each by Mailand, Holly Hankenson, and Hunter. Gutierrez had back-to-back aces in the second contest while Hunter picked up all three of hers on consecutive serves in the opening game.
Shoup recorded 33 assists and even dropped in her two kills when Wayne relaxed thinking she was going to pass and she deftly dropped in taps to the Wayne side of the floor.
Bellmont had one of its lowest nights for digs on the year with just 18 (Gutierrez led with six while Hunter and Bailee Hankenson each had three) but Wayne had numerous attack errors making it easier for the Bellmont defense.
Only on one occasion was Wayne able to score more than one point in a row and that came in game one when a 19-4 BHS lead went to 19-7.
Bellmont had numerous offensive runs in the game, none perhaps as impressive as the final game when Bailee Hankenson went back to the service line and picked up all four of her aces enroute to getting the Squaws to a 22-3 edge. They also started the night with a 9-1 run to open the first game and outscored Wayne 10-3 to end the second tilt.
The Bellmont junior varsity team moved to 25-1 on the season with a convincing 25-10, 25-7 triumph over the Generals in a quick prelim series.
Madalyn Mann had eight assists and three kills, Carley Williams had five aces and two digs, Olivia Fuelling had three kills and two aces, Devon Schultz and Emily Roman each had two digs, Natalie Busse scored three kills and two aces, Autumn Konkle posted seven assists, Madison Glancy had a team-high four kills, and Taylor Rhymer knocked home three kills.
Wayne did not field a freshman team so the BHS frosh became interested spectators for the night.
Bellmont travels to Jay County on Thursday for its final regular season dual meet. They will host the Bellmont Quad event on Saturday with Wapahani, Wes-Del (ranked second in class 2A and class 1A respectively), and Adams Central participating. Bellmont will play in the first game at 10 a.m. against Wes-Del and then again at roughly 3 p.m. against Wapahani. The Jets will also play those two schools but AC and Bellmont will not play.
Bellmont drew into the bye game of the Norwell sectional against Heritage and they will play at 11:30 a.m. a week from Saturday in the second game that day. The winner of that game will play for the sectional crown at 4 p.m. as Bellmont begins its defense of its 2010 state championship title in class 3A.