Madeline Johnson volleys the ball over the net in action in Meredith last week. (Photo by Joshua Spaulding) (click for larger version)
October 13, 2021MEREDITH — Early in the season, the Belmont volleyball team hosted Inter-Lakes and came away with a win.
The Raiders came to Meredith last Wednesday evening looking to pick up another win over the Lakers, but the hosts had other ideas, as they came out and dominated the first two sets and won a close third set for the 3-0 win.
"We've been really working on trying to put together the whole match, we've struggled from the beginning with inconsistencies," said Laker coach Randy Mattson. "This was the most complete match we've put together."
"They're a different team than the first time we played," said Belmont coach Andy Edgren. "We weren't ready for that. They're improved and I don't know that we've seen that progress."
The first set opened with the Lakers getting out to a 3-0 lead behind a couple of aces from Cecilia Hornkohl and a hit from Rebeka Nesbitt. Belmont got on the board with a hit from Mady Cryans. The Lakers got a hit from Molly Moynihan and Belmont answered with a hit from Kaitlyn Bryant.
The Lakers then went on a big run, turning a 5-4 lead into a 23-4 lead behind some strong play at the net from Moynihan and Caitlyn Clark and strong serving from Haven Lopez, who had five aces in the run. The Raiders got on the board again to make it 23-5, but the Lakers finished things off for the 25-5 win and the 1-0 lead.
The hosts got off to a 3-0 lead in the second set as well, with Nesbitt getting a hit to start things out and then adding a service ace. Belmont got an ace from Cryans and a hit from Madi Paquette to pull even at three, but the Lakers got hits from Reagan White and Moynihan to got back in front.
Belmont pulled even at five but a tip from Meadow True at the net put the Lakers in front for good. They stretched the lead to 9-6 on hits from Hayley Doda and Hornkohl before a Belmont hit from Bryant got them back on the board. Nesbitt came through with a pair of hits surrounded by hits on the other side from Madeline Johnson and Cryans.
Nesbitt had a couple of solid hits and White had a pair of service aces as the Lakers stretched the lead to 21-8. Nesbitt and Destany Berocales exchanged hits but the hosts were able to close out the 25-9 win and the 2-0 lead.
Moynihan had a block to start off the third set and an ace from Hornkohl helped the Lakers get out to a 4-0 lead. Belmont battled back with a hit from Cryans but the Lakers got a couple of hits from Clark. Cryans added another hit and then stepped to the service line and delivered an ace to pull Belmont even at seven.
Clark had another hit to put the Lakers in front but Bryant kept Belmont in the match with her own hit. True came through with a pair of service aces for the Lakers and they upped the lead to 13-8. Belmont battled to stay in it, with Johnson getting a hit, but Moynihan had a hit and Lopez had an ace to put the Lakers up 22-11.
Belmont came charging back, getting a key hit from Paquette, but the Lakers were able to get the final three points after the Raiders cut the lead to 23-16 and Inter-Lakes had the 25-19 win and the 3-0 victory.
"We stayed completely focused all three sets," said Mattson. "I'm very pleased with that."
She praised the work of Hornkohl and True, who have bene integral parts of the attack in their freshman campaigns, noting they have both stepped up in big ways.
Lopez finished with 23 service points and seven aces, White had seven serves in a row, Moynihan had six kills, Nesbitt had eight kills and Tori Sturart had four digs. Hornkohl added eight service points and four aces and True had 12 assists.
"We struggled on serve receive, it's been our Achilles' Heel all season," Edgren said. "We got a little better as it went on, that was a little bit of a silver lining.
"We don't have to be at our best right now, all this is a learning experience," The Raider coach continued. "Inter-Lakes, they've seen progress, now we've just got to get better."
Belmont will be at Farmington on Friday, Oct. 15, at 6:15 p.m.
The Lakers will be hosting Farmington on Monday, Oct. 18, at 5:15 p.m. and will be at Hillsboro-Deering on Wednesday, Oct. 20, at 5:30 p.m.
Sports Editor Joshua Spaulding can be reached at 279-4516, ext. 155 or email@example.com.