KINGSPORT — For the Dobyns-Bennett volleyball team, any win over Science Hill is a big deal.
That’s fine with Lady Indians coach Wendy Baker. Just so long as her players don’t start behaving as if Monday’s 3-0 Big 7 Conference win over the visiting Lady Hilltoppers was a season-defining victory.
“It’s still early. Science Hill is a tough place to play and they’re a great team. So we need to be ready every night. Every single opponent. Our conference is really tough,” said Baker, whose squad dispatched the Lady Hilltoppers 25-13, 25-13, 25-12.
The Lady Indians (2-1, 2-1) have already been ambushed by Sullivan Central this season, so they know to be wary.
Another caveat: While Dobyns-Bennett played its first full-strength match of the year, Science Hill has tweaked its lineup so many times because of injuries that passers, setters and hitters feel like strangers to one another.
By the time the rematch rolls around, the Johnson City team’s chemistry could change significantly for the better.
“That isn’t an excuse, but we’re really not playing together because they’re really not used to each other. We’re going to struggle until we get some more matches under our belt,” said Lady Hilltoppers coach Louise Stallworth.
Playing her first full match of the season was D-B hitter Taylor Henry, who has recovered from a partially torn Achilles tendon. Tired of playing the spectator, Henry led the Tribe with 11 kills and sent across four service aces.
“I couldn’t have asked for any better passes or any better sets. The passes were so great. They were there the whole time, and the sets were amazing, they were right there,” Henry said.
Makenzee Frohlich and Austin Payne had nine digs apiece. Lexi Hartsock and Jordan Stidham pried up eight each. Stidham distributed 18 assists. Kerri Jones parceled out 10 assists.
“I feel like we ran more of an offense and we shared the ball a whole lot,” Baker said. “When you share the ball like that, it makes it really hard for defense and blocking. It was all unselfishness. It was a team win.”
Frohlich banged out seven kills for the Lady Indians. Alabama transfer Rebecca Morehouse unloaded eight kills.
“I knew that Science Hill was big. I’ve been told that in school all day, so I knew we had a good opponent coming,” said Morehouse, who hails from the Mobile area.
Baker likes the way the new kid is starting to mesh with her teammates.
“We’re trying to break some bad habits, but she’s very coachable and the girls just love her,” Baker said. “She fits right in. She actually brings a little boost of enthusiasm to the team.”
Caprisha Webster led the Lady Hilltoppers (2-2, 2-2) with four kills, two digs and two service aces. Lakeisha Gregory had three kills and four digs. Karah McKaig led the team in assists with nine.
“I’m really looking forward to this weekend (tournament) in Chattanooga, getting them lots of playing time,” Stallworth said. “The only way we can do this is to play through it.”