Derrick Webb, Staff Writer
CHILLICOTHE — The road to the Scioto Valley Conference title still runs through Frankfort.
But for the Adena Warriors, Tuesday’s sweep of Huntington was just the first pit stop on a long, planned out journey.
The Warriors (19-2, 12-1 SVC) clinched an outright SVC championship with a 26-24, 25-14, 25-20 win in the Township — a victory that gave the program its 30th SVC title in 45 years.
The first goal is now marked off the Warriors’ list. But it’s certainly not the last the team plans to put a marker through.
“It’s like a road. It’s in the locker room and the girls made it at camp this summer,” Adena coach Laura Smith said. “They’ve got goals all along the way. Winning at least one summer tournament, winning the league … We’re making it down that road.”
In Tuesday’s first set, Huntington (15-5, 8-5 SVC) gave the Warriors everything it had.
After Allison Basye gave the Huntsmen an early lead, Adena’s Jenna Martin and Ellie Harper teamed up to put the Warriors ahead at 6-5. Martin later made it a 12-8 lead before Harper extended the advantage to 16-11 midway through.
But Huntington didn’t go away quietly.
Carly Dyer got in on the action, pulling the Huntsmen to within 16-14, before Basye finished off a 5-0 run to cut the deficit to a single point. Adena then went ahead 19-16 before Huntington’s Megan Steele kept the score close, logging three straight kills to make it a 22-21 tally.
Basye then logged back-to-back kills to tie the score at 24 but a service error and a Harper kill gave Adena a hard-fought 26-24 win.
“I think they’re getting hungry,” Smith said. “I think they see the end of the season coming and they have goals beyond this. They’ve had those goals for a long time. I think they can feel that they’re getting better. They’re meshing better on the court. We’ve got the right mix out there.”
The second was nothing comparable to the first.
Sydney Foglesong gave the Warriors an early 6-5 lead before an ace from Camryn Carroll made it an 11-6 ballgame. After Huntington cut the deficit to 11-8, the Warriors ripped off a 7-0 run to take control at 18-8 en route to a 25-14 win.
Needing just one win for an outright title, Adena started the third with a 10-5 lead behind the efforts of Makaela and Makenna Lovely. Huntington later cut the lead to three at 20-17 but Hannah Burns found a hot hand and carried the Warriors down the stretch to a 25-20 win.
“This team didn’t just start this season. This started when these seniors were freshmen,” Smith said. “At that point in time, we had goals every year that have come to this point now. They’ve been working hard for four years to get to this point. It’s a good group of kids. They mesh well together, they like each other and I think that’s what makes good teams great.”
Statistically, Basye led Huntington with 20 kills while Steele added 13 kills and 13 digs. Dyer finished with four kills and 11 digs, Harmony Henneberger had 12 digs and Leah McCloskey ended the night with 16 assists.
As for Adena, Martin led the team offensively with 11 kills while Harper added nine of her own. Foglesong had eight kills and two blocks, Burns had eight kills, Makenna Lovely added 12 digs, Carroll had eight digs, Hope Garrison tallied 14 assists and six digs, and Makaela Lovely finished with 15 assists.
Adena will host Paint Valley on Thursday in its regular season finale while Huntington goes to Wheelersburg on Wednesday.
“[Paint Valley] has some kids that, if they put everything together in one day, [an upset] could happen,” Smith said. “But we can be more focused now. There’s no pressure. We can just go out there and play like we know how. We can let it loose.”