CHILLICOTHE — When Huntington’s Allison Basye is fully locked in, there’s another gear she hits that is simply unmatched.
The senior hitter turned up the heat down the stretch on Thurdsay, ending the match with 25 kills alongside eight digs as she led her Huntsmen to a four-set victory over Westfall in SVC action — 25-23, 15-25, 25-20, 25-21.
“This was easily the best game we’ve played all season,” Huntington coach Tina Magill said. “Allison was extremely motivated going up against [Westfall’s Marissa] Mullins up front. We worked on a few things in practice and Allison is one of those players where, when there’s more competition, she hits a different zone and just goes after it.”
Revenge wasn’t exactly a motivating factor coming into the game for Huntington, though the thought of last year’s trio of losses to the Mustangs certainly wasn’t lost.
“We were definitely ready for a win this time,” Huntington senior Harmony Henneberger said. “Allison, Megan [Steele], Carly [Dyer], Emma [Hinshaw] and our hitters did a great job of putting the ball down. Our coverage was really good as well with Marissa up there at the net.”
The first set alone had 12 ties, and no lead was greater than three points, which set the tone for how important both teams understood the first set was.
Tied 5-5, Westfall’s Hailey Young served up back-to-back aces to put the Mustangs ahead. Some back-and-forth later saw the set tied at 13-13 before a kill from Carly Dyer put Huntington ahead.
The Huntsmen continued to remain ahead thanks to some untimely Westfall errors that added up to a 20-17 lead.
After calling timeout, Westfall pieced together a small rally behind kills from Young, Mullins and Lauryn Blackburn to tie the set at 22-22.
But in the end, a hitter error followed by kills from Hinshaw and Dyer gave the Huntsmen a first set victory.
“Typically, we always start out really well, play hard and take the first set,” Henneberger said. “But that second set is usually our downfall and we let up a little bit.”
And that’s exactly what unfolded.
Understanding that it needed a faster start, Westfall raced out to a quick 8-2 lead.
That lead was pushed to 14-8 following a kill from Blackburn. Huntington pieced together a 4-0 run to cut the lead to 14-12. But Westfall kicked things into high gear and seized all momentum with a 14-3 run to end the set and tie the match with a 25-15 win.
“I think part of it is our attitude and not getting the calls we think we should get so we get mad,” Henneberger said. “But also at the same point, I think it puts a fire under us to want it a little more.”
Now it was Basye’s time to make her impact, and she went straight to work. With nearly every ball going to her, she powered down five early kills, followed by a pair of aces from Dyer to put Huntington ahead 11-9.
It became Basye vs. Mullins, Young and Aubrey Clark, yet Westfall committed a handful of errors to remain behind 20-16. Basye put down three more kills, giving herself 11 for the set to put the Huntsmen up 2-1 with a 25-20 victory.
“I knew we needed that set so I came out and just did what I knew I could do,” Basye said. “We know we have to play our best every night since nothing is easy in the SVC when it comes to volleyball. It can be anybody’s game on any night.”
The momentum continued and Basye’s rampage wasn’t stopping anytime soon. She powered down three kills and a block to put Huntington ahead 7-3 in the fourth.
Westfall attempted to cut into the deficit, but never managed to trim the lead to less than three points. Trailing 16-13, Basye, Dyer and Megan Steele all registered a kill each for a six-point lead — one that remained intact for the rest of the evening.
“This is a really good win and overall we did pretty well,” Basye said. “When everything is on point and clicking like it was for us, nobody is going to stop us.”
After Basye’s final numbers, Steele finished with 23 assists, 14 digs and eight kills, followed by Dyer’s 15 digs and nine kills. Henneberger added 18 digs.
Huntington returns to SVC action on Tuesday at home against Paint Valley, while Westfall travels to play at Canal Winchester on Saturday.
“We have to tighten up our back row passing to our setter. I think we did it pretty well tonight and Harmony was great,” Magill said. “But we have to figure out who is on and who is off, who we’re moving back and things like that. There were a lot of things we did really well. Our coverage was good, our hitting was really good. Carly and Megan both played great as well. Very proud of this team.”