Olivia Riley, Contributor
WILLIAMSPORT — A battle of undefeateds lived up to its billing Tuesday night in Scioto Valley Conference volleyball action.
And, after a wild third set win, the league’s defending champion stayed on top of the standings.
The Westfall Mustangs (6-1, 5-0 SVC) defeated Huntington (7-2, 4-1 SVC) by a 20-25, 25-13, 31-29, 25-18 final — just before a matchup with Adena, which is now the conference’s only other unbeaten.
“Our mindset was to stay aggressive,” said Mustang senior Kristin Phillips. “We had to take it one point at a time.”
After falling short in the first set, Westfall came out of the huddle angry. They raced out to a 13-5 advantage in the second, behind Phillips and Marissa Mullins pacing Westfall’s offense. Those two paved the way to a 25-13 win, forcing a 1-1 tie in the match.
“In the second set, we weren’t nervous,” defensive specialist Kayla Fleischmann said. “We were demolishing the ball and we got almost every single serve over, which really helped us. We found the spots we needed to hit on the court.”
A wild third set
The third set started with some confusion after a substitution error on the Huntsmen’ side.
After a delay, the Mustangs showed their dominance throughout the entire set. But near the end, the Huntsmen survived four set points and eventually tied the score at 24-24.
Both teams made multiple incredible defensive plays to stay alive in the set, but a monster kill from Phillips gave the set, and momentum, to the Mustangs by a 31-29 final.
After the chaotic end to the third, Westfall raced to an 8-3 lead early in the fourth after two consecutive aces from Phillips. The Mustangs then held a steady advantage throughout and eventually won the set 25-18 to take the match.
For the Mustangs, Mullins led the offense with 20 kills while Phillips followed with 17. That duo also added 7 solo blocks in total. For the defense, Mullins led with 19 digs while Fleischmann followed with 15. Claire Latham also tallied 40 assists.
Leading Huntington statistically was junior Allison Bayse, who totaled 15 kills on the night. Carly Dyer and Megan Steele added nine and seven kills, respectively. Bayse also led the team in digs with 20, while Steele added 18 of her own.
After Tuesday’s loss, the Huntsmen fall to 4-1 in the league and will travel to Paint Valley on Thursday to face the Bearcats (3-6, 1-4 SVC).
Meanwhile, the Mustangs travel to Frankfort to face state-ranked Adena (8-0, 5-0 SVC) in a key league matchup on the same night.
“We’re coming in ready to play,” said Phillips, regarding Thursday’s match at Adena. “We’re planning to take it one game at a time, point at a time, staying aggressive.”