Olivia Riley, Contributor
FRANKFORT — The Adena Warriors now stand alone at the top of the Scioto Valley Conference.
The Warriors (9-0, 6-0 SVC) battled the Westfall Mustangs (6-2, 5-1 SVC) for the top spot in the league on Thursday and, after a nip-and-tuck match, sealed a 25-23, 25-21, 22-25, 25-21 victory.
“Our tough serves worked really well for us tonight,” said Adena’s lone senior Arianna DaRif. “Our big block really helped our defense.”
The first set was close until the very end.
With Westfall’s Kristin Phillips and Marissa Mullins battling for dominance at the net with Adena’s Jenna Martin, the largest advantage in the first set was held by Westfall — a mere four points early in the set. After leading 8-4, two unforced errors by the Mustangs helped the Warriors gain momentum.
The entire set was back-and-forth, but a strong attack from Hannah Burns, a sophomore, gave Adena the first set at 25-23.
After being tied at 8-8 in the second, the Warriors soon raced out to a 13-8 lead behind Martin. They extended their lead to 16-9, and the Mustangs were never able to recover from that seven-point deficit.
Unforced errors and a lack of communication proved detrimental for Westfall as the Warriors took the second set by a 25-21 score after another Burns kill.
With no margin for error, the Mustangs had to take the third to stay alive in the match.
Out of the gate, Westfall jumped out to a 3-1 lead after a kill from Mullins and an Adena hitting error. Then, after multiple hitting errors late in the set, the Mustangs grabbed a 17-12 advantage. The Warriors closed the gap — eventually tying it at 19 — behind kills from Sydney Foglesong and Makenna and Makaela Lovely. A nail-biting third set came to a close after another Adena hitting error gave the set to the Mustangs, 25-22.
The Warriors kept a steady lead throughout the fourth set, capitalizing on finding holes in Westfall’s defense.
“Tipping smart helped us a lot tonight,” DaRif said. “Reading their defense well gave it to us in the end.”
Westfall made a strong effort at the end of the set to put itself within four, but two consecutive kills from Ellie Harper gave the Warriors what they needed to propel to a 25-21 math-clinching victory.
For the Warriors’ offense, Martin led the way with 15 kills. She was followed by Makenna Lovely and Hannah Burns with 11 kills each. Defensively, junior libero Camryn Carroll tallied 27 digs on the night. Hope Garrison, also a junior, totaled 19 digs. Carroll also added 2 aces.
For Westfall, Phillips led the offense with 21 kills. Mullins wasn’t far behind and totaled 20 kills on the night. Kayla Fleischmann led the Mustangs’ defense with 23 digs on the night while Claire Latham also added 33 assists and 15 digs.
After Thursday’s loss, the Mustangs will host the Zane Trace Pioneers (6-2, 4-2 SVC) on Tuesday in the final match of the first round of SVC play.
Meanwhile, the Warriors will travel to Huntington (8-2, 5-1 SVC) on the same evening in a key league matchup.
“We’ve been on a good roll,” said sophomore middle hitter Sydney Foglesong. “We just have to keep the energy on and off the court.”