West Johnston’s volleyball team rebounded from a tough loss in a big way Wednesday, sweeping past Smithfield-Selma in dominant fashion.
A day after a five-set loss to conference foe East Wake, the Wildcats used a consistent attack and strong serve to top Smithfield-Selma 25-10, 25-10, 25-6.
“It was good to see them play consistently from beginning to end,” first-year West Johnston coach Meredith Blake said. “That is something we have struggled with this year. With a young team, it was a really a good thing to see. Hopefully it is a win we can build on.”
The Wildcats (3-5) quickly put the loss to East Wake behind them, jumping to a 12-4 lead in the first set, and never looked back.
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The front line was strong, led by Abby Barbour and Kelsey Ellis.
It began with strong play from the back line, Ellis said. Good passes on the service return set up the front line for kills from several players.
“When our passes are good, we tend to have better sets,” Ellis said. “It is easier to run different plays when our passes are on, and they were today.”
Smithfield-Selma dropped to 3-7. The young 3A squad struggled against the taller and more athletic 4A West Johnston team.
“They are a very good team,” Smithfield-Selma coach Deanna Morris said. “They had great serves, great passes and great sets. My girls have some talent, but they are learning. They are just inconsistent.”
The score was still close in the first set when West Johnston began to take charge. Ahead 5-3, West went on a 12-5 run to go up 17-8 and set the tone for a dominant match.
They said it
“This was a great rebound win,” Blake said. “We lost in five sets to East Wake (Tuesday). It was good to see them come out and play that well today.”
Three who mattered
Abby Barbour, West Johnston: Led the Wildcats’ front line with 10 kills and four blocks. She also had three service aces and consistently placed her serves in good spots.
Kelsey Ellis, West Johnston: Contributed six kills and six aces. Had three straight aces late in the first set as the Wildcats went on a 10-2 run to close out the set.
Emily Rentz, West Johnston: Put together strong service runs in both the second and third set. In the opening set, Rentz had a nine-serve string that helped the Wildcats build its lead from 5-3 to 13-4. In the third set, she had an 11-serve run that began with the Wildcats already up by 10-2.
By the numbers
1: Lead for Smithfield-Selma, at 2-1 in the first set.
4: Players with at least four kills for West Johnston. In addition to Barbour (10) and Ellis (6), Tessa Starkweather and Tatianna Thompson had four kills each.
22-3: Largest lead for West Johnston in the match. That came in the third set.