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Fresh faces, paint on the court

Fresh faces, paint on the court
Fresh faces, paint on the court
Lanesville's Sarina Belden battles at the net with Rock Creek Academy's Julia Anderson during the second set of the season opener. Photo by Brian Smith

Volleyballs were bouncing, smacking the brightly painted Lanesville floor during warm-ups Monday during the season-opening match versus Rock Creek Academy.
Despite fresh lines to brighten up the Eagles’ Nest, Lanesville wasn’t able to pull out a victory over the visiting Lady Lions. Backed by solid play at the net, Rock Creek went on to sweep Lanesville in three games, 25-9, 25-12, 25-20.
‘Rock Creek is a big team,’ Lanesville coach Pamela Tobbe said. ‘Hopefully, tomorrow we can make some tweaks and the girls feel more comfortable. It was the first home game, and there were some jitters. Now, hopefully, we can get in the flow.’
Lanesville scored the opening point of the season when Sarina Belden took the second ball and tipped it to an open spot on the Lady Lions’ side of the court.
Through the first 12 points, it was back and forth between the Class 1A Sectional 62 rivals. Lindsey Ash, the program’s lone senior, had a kill for the Lady Eagles. A point also came from a block via Savannah Miller for a 5-4 Lanesville lead.
The opening game was tied at 6-all before eight consecutive points were won by Rock Creek.
Katie Thompson provided the pop for Rock Creek, connecting on back-to-back winners. A tip also rolled over the net to an open spot for Hannah Baker as well.
Lanesville was able to score just three more points during the rest of game one, including a successful tip by Mackenzie Miller at the net.
A block by Beth Combs and kill via Kelsey Richmer gave Lanesville an early 3-2 lead in game two. Rock Creek then went on a 5-0 run before Lanesville got going again. Belden and Richmer added winners to bring Lanesville within one point, 9-8. Again, a long run of points by Rock Creek put the game away.
‘The lineup we’ve been working on the 10 days prior to the match was altered tonight,’ Tobbe said. ‘Each lineup brings a little something different. The first set, we had trouble with some of our hitters. We want them to be aggressive against a big block, so we switched it up a little bit.’
Tobbe and the Lady Eagles are switching from a 6-2 and 5-1 due to having a pair of setter options with Miller and Belden. Both are setting extensively on the varsity level for the first time.
‘They are both very good setters,’ Tobbe said. ‘Depending on passing, I can push one of them back or the other up. It allows us more flexibility. We are getting there.’
On the back end, Tobbe said she saw good defensive play in the first and third sets.
‘Most of our passers, defensive specialist, are young, so it’s getting them used to taking those hard-driven balls coming at their chest,’ she said. ‘They have to keep working on moving their feet back and getting behind the ball.’
Libero Abby Duncan, along with Olivia Baird, had flashes of quality passing.
‘We are really good with hard-driven balls because we work on defense all the time,’ Tobbe said. ‘The tips are something we need to work on reacting, too. They are so used to reacting to the balls coming at them hard to get them up, we didn’t react quick enough to the short tips.’
Some fight was shown by the Lady Eagles in the third game. Rock Creek raced out to a 16-9 lead, but the Lady Eagles ripped off seven straight to even the score.
Duncan had a key dig, which eventually led to a hitting error by Rock Creek. A delay on an ‘in’ call gave Belden an ace to get the Lady Eagles jumping. Ash chipped in a kill, then Belden provided more aces to prompt a 16-all score.
The teams traded points, but Lanesville could never take the lead. Baker served an ace for Rock Creek followed by a swing miscue from Lanesville for a 21-17 Lady Lions’ edge. Rock Creek went on to take a competitive game three, 25-20.
Tobbe said the Lady Eagles will keep working and seek to improve front-line play.
‘Getting them in the right spots,’ Tobbe said of a front-line key. ‘Tonight, since our passing wasn’t perfect, every (set) was off the net. Our outsides can’t hit as well off the net. They like it tight. Kelsey Richmer is one that can smash the ball if it’s tight on the net. If it’s off, she rolls it. Hopefully, tomorrow we will have more consistent passing to the net.’
Lanesville will hit the road tomorrow (Thursday) to face Clarksville then return home next week to face Cannelton on Monday and South Central on Tuesday.

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