John Bruce, Contributor
Southern Ohio Sports Authority is presented by OhioHealth.
FRANKFORT — For the 31st time, the Adena Warriors are Scioto Valley Conference volleyball champions.
On Tuesday, the Warriors (19-2, 12-1 SVC) swept Huntington by a 25-15, 25-18, 25-21 final, guaranteeing themselves at least a share of the conference crown, which they can close out on Thursday at Paint Valley.
“We knew we had it in us. We just had to keep pushing and get through each game one at a time,” senior Hannah Burns said. “I think our team works really well together. We lost a lot of seniors [last year] but we adjusted.”
It was Senior Night for the Warriors and all four of the team’s seniors put their individual stamps on the championship-clinching victory. Brenna McQuiniff and Carly Bowdle dazzled from the service line, Burns played outstanding all the way around and finally, Sydney Foglesong put down a monster kill to close out the win — the 19th in 21 tries for the Warriors and the team’s third consecutive SVC crown.
“Honestly, last year, the seniors set great examples for us,” Foglesong said. “So we kind of did what they did. Since we had a lot of people who didn’t have a lot of varsity experience, we had to be there for them and encourage them.”
The win didn’t come as easily as the final score may suggest.
The Huntsmen, a youth-filled and scrappy roster, put together several runs throughout the evening and even took a late lead in the third set before the Warriors pulled away to close out the match.
Emma Hinshaw, Meredith Hirsch and Haleigh Stangle played well around the net while Leah McCloskey and Kaci Carroll had fantastic all-around games. Huntington’s only senior, Makenzie Tackett, put together an excellent game as well.
But all of that was not enough to topple coach Laura Smith’s Warriors, who have built a great deal of depth throughout their championship season.
“Last year, we had so many seniors that we didn’t really have to take that leadership position,” McQuiniff said. “But this year, since there’s only four [seniors] and it’s a whole new team, we really had to step up and keep this team together.”
Brinlee Preston and Katie Burns provide front line depth with great defensive timing and excellent hitting ability. Brooke Bossert and Eva Kruger are defensive juggernauts and sophomore setter Grace Townsend provided the Warriors with extreme consistency and excellence on the attack.
Putting all of those talented players together has equaled another set of numbers to be added to the volleyball banner in The Village.
Hannah Burns led the Warriors statistically with 12 kills and 13 digs while Kruger and Foglesong added 11 and 10 kills, respectively. Kruger also had 16 digs. Preston added nine kills and four blocks, Bowdle had four aces, Bossert finished with 12 digs and Townsend ended the night with a team-high 20 digs and 36 assists.
Huntington’s statistics were not available at the time of publication.
The Warriors now close out their regular season slate on Thursday at Paint Valley, looking to clinch the league’s outright title, while Huntington looks to bounce back at West Union on Wednesday.