Brock Netter, Staff Writer
CHILLICOTHE — Whether it’s the regular season or the playoffs, Southeastern simply has North Adams’ number.
Monday was no different as the Panthers (4-4), behind Audrey Scott and Hannah Lougheed, swept the Green Devils by a 25-14, 25-23, 27-25 final, notching their sixth-straight victory over their Division III counterparts.
“We stayed more aggressive and mentally in the game,” Southeastern coach Lori Koker said. “I think at times we struggle with our mental toughness and moving on to the next play, but we did much better with that in this one.”
Tied at five apiece to start the opening set, Lougheed stepped back to the serving line and produced a pair of aces sandwiched between two Scott kills for a 6-0 run that put the Panthers ahead 11-5.
Later in the set, the Panthers pieced together a 5-0 run with Olivia Higley at the service line, which gave them their biggest lead at 20-9 before closing out the first set victory.
North Adams brought more fight in the second. Neither team had a lead bigger than three points, but it was the Green Devils (6-3) with an advantage after three straight aces from Sierra Kendall put them ahead 16-13.
“North Adams played a lot more aggressive after the first set, and I think we backed off a little bit,” Koker said. “That satisfaction of knowing we took the first set got in our minds and our mental focus wasn’t as sharp as it should have been from the very beginning.”
\However, Southeastern began to apply pressure of its own and tied the game at 20, which was followed by a Scott kill to go ahead 23-21.
North Adam’s Delaney Harper pulled the Green Devils back even at 23-23 with back-to-back kills, but then NA committed a hitting error and Lougheed powered a kill for the victory.
“As the set played out, I thought [Alexis] Bailes did a great job at the net of forcing North Adams to change their hits and Lexie [Lockwood] picking up some balls in the back row was key,” Koker said. “Once those two got going, everyone else started to pick it up a little more. It showed a lot of good character to not give up in a tight spot.”
Not wanting to fall in straight sets, North Adams leaned on Wylie Shipley to guide the ship … pun intended. Whenever the Green Devils needed a kill, No. 1 in green provided. Need an ace? Shipley also delivered.
The Green Devils maintained a lead from 3-2 all the way to 25-25 after Lougheed sent down a thunderous kill. In the end, luck was on the Panthers’ side as a pair of errors by the Green Devils sealed the envelope.
“We’re still young in some different spots and figuring some things out as far as leadership on the floor goes,” Koker said. “When you play from behind for a long stretch, you play tight because you don’t want to make that one mistake that could be a back-breaker. But the girls stayed calm, played through it and stuck together as a team to get this one.”
For the Panthers, Scott finished with team-highs of 15 kills and four aces, followed by Lougheed’s line of 16 digs, 13 assists, 10 kills and three aces.
Bailes added 10 kills, Higley had 16 assists and Lockwood and Macy Corcoran added 22 and 16 digs, respectively.
Southeastern hits the road Tuesday at Piketon, while North Adams is home on Wednesday against Valley.