Derrick Webb, Staff Writer
Southern Ohio Sports Authority is presented by OhioHealth.
FRANKFORT — During her storied coaching career, Laura Smith has won an absurd amount of volleyball matches. But she’s never entered a postgame interview drenched in water.
She’s also never had a captain like Sydney Foglesong.
When Smith walked into Adena’s locker room on Tuesday, Foglesong and her teammates were waiting on their coach with bottled water they were ready to disperse in celebration.
That was the scene after the Warriors (16-2, 10-1 SVC) had beaten Zane Trace in four sets — a 25-23, 25-20, 22-25, 25-22 final — to switch back into the driver’s seat of the Scioto Valley Conference title race.
The victory comes one week after Adena’s lone conference loss, which came in four sets at the hands of Southeastern.
“It’s a big win. We stubbed our toe against Southeastern. They played a really good game that night and [Southeastern coach] Lori [Koker] had a great game plan. We came out flat and you can’t do that against anyone,” Smith said. “We knew that our backs were against the wall because you want to keep a cushion [in the title race]. So this is a big win.”
Foglesong was the Warriors’ engine in the victory.
Time and time again, the senior delivered the goods when her teammates needed it the most. And, much like the last time Adena beat Zane Trace, she was the Pioneers’ kryptonite.
Put simply, when she was in the game, the Warriors had a significant advantage.
“She’s a good leader and she’s a good girl,” Smith said of Foglesong. “Because of that, the rest of her teammates look up to her. She’s a hard worker and she sets an example for the rest of them, not just in her efforts but in the way she lives her life.”
Tale of the tape
Foglesong was responsible for Adena’s first four points of the night, helping the Warriors take a 4-3 lead in the first set. The game was nip and tuck before the Warriors took a 19-15 advantage with a 4-0 burst, forcing the Pioneers (14-4, 9-2 SVC) into a timeout.
Behind senior Lexi Scott, Zane Trace answered with a 4-0 run of its own before taking a 21-20 lead. However, after Foglesong tied the score with a kill, Adena managed to take a 24-23 advantage before sealing a two-point win, thanks to a block from Brinlee Preston.
The second set was a game of runs.
With Hannah Burns at the service line, the Warriors began the game by ripping off 10 straight points — a sequence that featured kills from Foglesong, Eva Kruger and Grace Townsend.
But despite the early hole, Zane Trace clawed its way back into things with a 10-2 run powered by Scott, Alexis Farley and Mykah Hettinger. After seeing their lead cut to 12-10, the Warriors proceeded to go on an 8-1 run to go ahead 20-11.
The Pioneers then turned to Kendra Detillion, who gave her team a late spark off the bench to the tune of a 9-2 run, making it a 22-20 tally. But the Warriors’ lead was too stout to overcome as a kill from Kruger ziplocked a 25-20 win and a 2-0 lead in the match.
Zane Trace surrendered five straight points to begin the third but took a 9-7 lead, thanks to Detillion and Farley’s play at the net. That lead would stay intact until Foglesong put Adena ahead 21-20 late.
That’s when Scott took over, pelting the Warriors’ defense with three straight kills to give the Pioneers a 25-22 victory and cutting Adena’s match lead in half.
In the fourth and deciding set, freshman Katie Burns started to make a difference. Burns received a decent amount of playing time on Tuesday with the absence of Caroline Corcoran in Adena’s rotation.
She held her own, which only spells out good things for the program’s future.
“Katie doesn’t look so nervous and she doesn’t have that [nervous] look on her face anymore,” Smith said. “We tell her what we expect out of her and she gets in there and does that. She can jump really well, she can block and she gets over top of some blocks when she swings. I like her getting some experience this year because she’s going to be a big part of our offense for years to come.”
Zane Trace went ahead 4-2 early before Burns helped her Warriors force an 8-8 tie. The Pioneers then scored four of the next five, taking a 13-9 lead, before Adena later forced a 19-19 tie.
Farley then logged back-to-back kills, putting ZT ahead 21-19, but Hannah Burns was having none of it. The senior powered down two kills of her own before putting Adena ahead 23-21. That was enough momentum to help the Warriors’ put away a match-clinching 25-22 victory.
Zane Trace was led statistically by Scott, who tallied 19 kills and 24 digs. Kinley May also helped out with 16 assists and 18 digs while Farley had nine kills and 10 digs. Detillion finished with nine kills and eight digs, Hettinger had nine kills, Delaney Berry added 21 digs and 28 assists, and Gracey McCullough posted a team-high 32 digs.
Foglesong paced Adena with a match-high 27 kills and six blocks while Hannah Burns added 18 kills, three aces, four blocks and 24 digs. Kruger had seven kills and 24 digs, Brenna McQuiniff added 22 digs, and Townsend finished with 50 assists, 10 digs and and three kills.
Warrior libero Brooke Bossert had a career night, setting the school’s new single-match record for digs with 46 — passing Camryn Carroll’s previous high mark of 43.
What’s on tap
While Zane Trace licks its wounds at Piketon on Thursday, the Warriors host Westfall.
The team’s magic number to clinch at least a share of the conference title is now two. But Smith knows all too well that her team can’t get ahead of itself.
“We’ve got a bit of cushion but we want to keep that cushion. We can’t let anyone get us,” Smith said. “This is the time of year where we should be gelling and the chemistry should be working at its best. Now, maybe we can start to add some things to our attack. Going into the tournament, we need to be better than we are.”