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Lanesville makes some noise vs. SC

Lanesville makes some noise vs. SC
Lanesville makes some noise vs. SC
Lunging toward the line, Lanesville setter Sarina Belden digs a ball in the opening game versus South Central. Photos by Brian Smith

Lanesville had things rolling last Tuesday versus rival South Central on the volleyball court.
Playing in the junior high gym while the high school gym serves as the daytime lunchroom for South Central students, Lanesville wasn’t worried about the change in scenery. The Lady Eagles were steady in all phases of the game to sweep host South Central 25-17, 25-17, 25-11.
Lanesville, coached by Adam Belden in his first season at the helm, isn’t all that unfamiliar with his squad, having served on the coaching staff the previous five years. The girls graduated only one player from a year ago.
‘This is a good group,’ Belden said. ‘It helps me a lot knowing the girls that are coming back, and I know what they are capable of. They accomplished some last year, finishing with nine or 10 wins, which is the most we’ve had in several years. We had a little let down last night against Cannelton; we had to win in four. We played our game today and did well.’
On the service line, the Lady Eagles had plenty of sure shots, recording 10 aces as a team, paced by three each from Olivia Baird and Sarina Belden. Lanesville didn’t miss much with their serve either, accounting for only four miscues.
In fact, Sarina Belden had an early ace, followed by setting Beth Combs in the middle for a kill. Behind an Abby Duncan ace and winners from Savannah Miller and Kelsey Richmer, Lanesville opened game one with a 10-2 lead.
South Central found some offense when it strung together three straight points. Alyssa Pumphrey and Jenna Baelz knocked in winners, while Noelle Miller used her crafty serve for an ace.
Able to get it together again for three straight points, the last on a Pumphrey ace, South Central crawled back to within five points, 14-9.
Lanesville, however, turned things on when Combs put in a kill that touched the back line. Richmer, who had 10 kills on the night, had two in the late stages of the first game to put her team up 22-13. The opening game ended with Emma Peele getting up for a winner from the outside left.
‘We have been working on our middle a lot this year,’ Adam Belden said. ‘Last year, we didn’t run a lot of what we call ‘quick.’ Everything we did was slow offensively. We want to go quick and not give blockers time to get there. We’re working a lot on our timing with quicks.’
Sarina Belden serves as the Lady Eagles’ setter and has the responsibility to keep the offensive weapons churning.
‘Sarina has run the offense with club, so she knows how to do it,’ said her father, Adam Belden. ‘It’s going to be rough at first but, once you get the timing down, you’ll see the benefits. The back row, you have to be ready to cover it.’
Quick hitters for the swingers also means the defense has to get moving to cover any blocks from opponents. Shifty libero Abby Duncan, along with defensive players Mackenzie Miller, Chloe Roadcap and Baird, showed the ability to pass efficiently for the Lady Eagles.
‘We’re really working hard on our defense,’ Adam Belden said. ‘I’ve heard people compliment our defense on how they are hustling and scraping.’
Game two opened with a much tighter battle through the first 16 points. A back-row attack from Pumphrey gave South Central a 3-1 edge. Miller jumped back into the action by scoring points, while Baelz added a kill. Another Miller ace put the score even at 8-all.
‘We find in these brief moments, we can play beautiful volleyball,’ South Central coach Amanda Haag said. ‘We have these amazing attackers when we get the ball up. They can have beautiful passes, but it’s like they all can’t come together at the same time consistently.’
Lanesville busted the 8-all tie with authority. After a South Central service error, Combs attacked for a win then Savannah Miller put in an ace. It was all part of starting a 16-3 outburst for Lanesville.
The action came from different areas of the floor for Lanesville during the stretch of points. Sarina Belden had two aces, while Combs stood strong for a block. Effective passing also saw Lanesville set up Richmer for a pair of kills.
Down 24-11 in the second, South Central was able to stand together and fight off several match points before falling 25-17. Kendall Miller had a block, while Kaylee Logsdon scored on an ace for the Lady Rebels in the late winning points.
Haag said blocking was lacking with her squad.
‘It’s like we forgot our block coverage,’ Haag said. ‘We’re working on Kaylee Logsdon playing full rotation. She’s never played the back row in her previous four years of playing. I need to develop her into that player because she’s a player.’
Lanesville controlled much of game three as well to complete the Southern Athletic Conference sweep.
While the match versus South Central was a complete one for the Lady Eagles, coach Belden said there are things to continue to improve upon.
‘Communication is a big thing,’ he said. ‘We missed a few serves tonight, so we want to clean that up. I thought tonight they really hustled. We’re a team that doesn’t have a lot of height compared to South Central. The blocking and defense was the key. If you play defense, they can make mistakes before you do. If you scrap, go after loose balls, you can get some points.’
Looking to bounce back, Haag said the Lady Rebels will continue to tinker with rotations.
‘We’re looking to build chemistry,’ Haag said. ‘We have girls new to varsity and new to playing the floor this much, so it’s really unfortunate we play our biggest rival and a conference match this early in the season. I see good things moving forward. That was a hard loss because the girls wanted it.’