Derrick Webb, Staff Writer
BAINBRIDGE — If you don’t know anything about Paint Valley’s volleyball program, know this … the Bearcats are going to keep swinging. Time after time.
With that attitude in mind, Paint Valley (3-5) rolled to a 25-10, 25-14, 25-15 sweep of Western on Wednesday in non-league action, exorcising some nagging demons in the process.
“We wanted to focus on identifying the roles we want to fit into,” Paint Valley coach Kristin Posey said. “I have a lot of respect for the other coaches in our conference. Those coaches have given me, a young coach, some pointers this year. That was what we focused on today. We wanted to work on our passes and our sets so we could have the ability to put a swing on the ball.”
The Bearcats played most of their bench in the victory.
While the usual suspects of Olivia Smith, Averi McFadden, Kaitlin Potts, Kendall Dye and Abbi Stanforth performed at a high level throughout the match, that group also got assistance from a number of teammates, including Kara Free, Kayla Chapman, Bailey Brumfield and Addison Furniss.
It was a true “team win,” which is exactly what the doctor ordered before Paint Valley returns to Scioto Valley Conference play.
“Not one person walked off the court today without doing something positive,” Posey said. “Everybody came together and played a factor in winning. The way you come on the court and the way you come off the court makes a huge difference. We mixed it up tonight and it worked. We’re finding where we can be comfortable and shine.”
Posey emphasized the point of how important it is for her starters to be able to rely on substitutions, especially down the stretch and into tournament play.
But in the case of Averi McFadden, if she continues to play the way she did on Wednesday, Posey will have a struggle giving her any sort of rest.
The junior hitter peppered Western’s defense with swing after swing, consistently finding holes on the floor.
“Last year, we had a college coach come and she told me that I’d be crazy not to use Averi as our libero,” Posey said. “So we put her in that role. But she came to us and told us that wasn’t where she wanted to be. We told her to earn the position that she wanted to play. So she went to AP Prep throughout the offseason and she just kept working. That same college coach came back this year and said we’d be crazy not to play her all the way around. You can see the difference.”
As for Wednesday’s contest, the Bearcats never trailed.
Dye started the first set with an ace before Smith and Free made it a 4-2 score with kills. McFadden later pushed the lead to 9-4 before it grew to 15-7 and 21-9 en route to a 25-10 win.
In the second, McFadden put the Bearcats up 1-0 before Stanforth served four consecutive aces for a 7-1 score. That edge swelled to 15-2 and 19-5 before PV sealed a 25-14 victory.
Much of the same took place in the third. Potts gave the Bearcats a 9-3 lead before Furniss later made it 20-9. Smith and McFadden then teamed up to close out a match-clinching 25-15 win.
“We’ve been playing each team and we’re only winning on set,” McFadden said. “But we know we’re ready for [conference play]. We’re really trying to build this program. We’re going to start hitting the ball. We’re going to put it down and show [PV’s opponents] we’re there to play.”
Smith finished the game with a team-high 14 kills and 10 digs while McFadden added seven kills, six digs and a pair of aces.
Stanforth followed with 12 assists, 13 digs and eight aces while Dye finished with six kills. Brumfield and Mandi Bolles added seven digs, Chapman ended with four kills, and Potts tallied 23 assists.
The Bearcats will be back in action on Thursday, traveling to Southeastern, while Western tries to bounce back the same evening, hosting New Boston.
“We’re going to use [Tuesday’s loss to Huntington] and today’s game as motivation going into tomorrow,” Posey said. “We’ve been trying to clean up our errors and trying to move on, not dwelling on a loss and moving forward. We want to go out there and execute. We’re going to go in hitting the ball and putting swings on it. We have to be able to mix it up and our defense has to handle [Southeastern’s attack]. We’ll see how it goes.”