Derrick Webb, Staff Writer
CHILLICOTHE — If you don’t know about Megan Steele by now, you simply haven’t been paying attention.
Steele, while shy, has made a loud impact across the Scioto Valley Conference volleyball scene. Her athleticism, skill and value have all been underrated or, sometimes, overlooked.
But night in and night out, she continues to quitely impress.
That rang true once again in Huntington’s four-set win over Southeastern, Tuesday night — by a 25-23, 20-25, 25-13, 25-17 final. Steele spearheaded the victory
“At the beginning, I felt kind of sluggish and didn’t feel like I had that much energy,” Steele said after the win. “As a player, you have to go out and have that energy every game. So I tried to bring myself up, bring my team up, and that was my focus. I put the hit down when it was a good set and I think I did pretty well [the rest of the way].”
Steele ended the night with a team-high 20 kills alongside 17 digs.
“Megan is an all-around great player. You can see her talent level in her stats the last two years,” Huntington coach Tina Magill said. “Sometimes, it’s hard to believe the 5-foot-5 sophomore that’s not much more than 110 pounds soaking wet can make such a huge impact on our team. She helped lead us to a big win tonight.”
After falling behind 12-11 in the first set, Steele helped Huntington (13-5, 7-4 SVC) take a 15-12 lead with the help of teammate Allison Basye and unforced SE errors. The Huntsmen eventually took a 24-20 lead and held off the Panthers the rest of the way, putting a seal on a 25-23 win.
In the second, Southeastern (7-10, 4-7 SVC) looked to Skylar Hice and Hannah Lougheed to return the favor. Hice, the defending SVC Player of the Year, and Lougheed, a team captain, aided the Panthers to an early 10-6 lead .. one that turned into 15-13, 22-16 and, eventually, a 25-20 win to even the match.
But the third and fourth sets belonged to Steele and the Huntsmen.
After falling behind 4-0, Huntington’s Lauryl Shope stepped to the service line and led a 5-0 run. Not too long after, Steele logged back-to-back kills to extend the lead to 13-9. From there, Huntington outscored Southeastern 12-4 to win 25-13 in a set that was never really that close.
The fourth told a similar story as Steele, Basye, Shope, Alyssa Steele, Emily Morris, Katie Hirsch and Harmony Henneberger all made the plays they needed to in order to put away the four-set victory.
“We all played our game and we all did our jobs,” Steele said. “Katie played really well tonight and Emily put her hits down, even when they may not get as many sets. They make the most of [their opportunities]. Allison did good at the net blocking, Alyssa is always good with her sets, Harmony is always good with passing … doing that every game, we can beat anybody.”
After Steele’s stat line, Basye tallied 10 kills and 16 digs while Alyssa Steele had 47 assists and 21 digs. Henneberger added 13 digs, Shope finished with 12 digs, Morris had 11 kills, and Hirsch totaled 10 kills and five digs.
For Southeastern, Hice led the way with 14 kills and 24 digs while Lexi Lockwood logged a team-high 27 digs. Lougheed finished with 10 kills and 15 digs, Ameris Cooper had 33 assists, and Audrey Scott tallied three kills, four aces and three digs.
The Huntsmen are back in action Thursday night, traveling to SVC-leading Westfall. Southeastern travels to Piketon the same night, looking to get back on track.
“[A win] would be huge,” Steele said. “We haven’t lost a game in the second half [of the SVC schedule]. If we win [at Westfall], I think we can beat Adena, too. We have potential.”