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Lady Bears drop district rival Wolfpack in three-setter

Kevin Mays • Sep 5, 2018 at 12:43 AM

BIG STONE GAP — Union’s volleyball team dominated the front line Tuesday in sweeping Ridgeview at the Bear Den.

The trio of Meagan Blagg, Emili Brooks and Jayda Smith combined for 35 kills to lead the Lady Bears to the 25-18, 25-10, 25-16 Mountain 7 District win.

“Everybody on this team contributed tonight,” said Union coach Kim Moore.

HOME OPENER

The victory came in the first home match of the season for Union (5-0, 1-0), which earned its first four wins on the road.

“It’s exciting, simply because the girls were excited. It was a long wait for the first home game. And it seems a bit early for the first district game,” Moore said.

Smith said the Lady Bears’ excitement of finally playing at home carried over to the match.

“All of our hitters were strong tonight and did good. We were definitely excited and had a lot of energy for our first home game,” she said.

Brooks said it was key to get all of the front-line players involved in the game.

“We all did really good at the net. We’ve got a lot of strong hitters at the net,” she said.

WOLFPACK GETTING STRONGER

Ridgeview (4-2, 0-1) challenged the Lady Bears in the first set, stumbled in the second but challenged again in the third.

Wolfpack coach David Vanover said his team is improving and can only grow stronger by playing top-notch programs like Union.’

“First of all, they’re pretty darn good,” Vanover said of the Lady Bears. “We knew what we were going to face coming in.

“It may not seem like to most people who watched the match tonight, but it was a vast improvement on our part from last year. We came over here last year and I don’t think we scored 10 points in a game. We stayed hunkered down the whole match last year, scared to death, afraid to move, afraid to compete.

“I told the girls coming into the game, win, lose or draw, I just wanted us to compete,” Ridgeview’s coach added. “And the first and third games I thought we did that. Second game, not so much.”

STARTING STRONG

Union jumped out to a 7-2 lead in the first set, but Ridgeview battled back to within 7-6 before the Lady Bears used a 10-3 run to pull away.

The second set belonged to Union. Nine of the 10 points scored by Ridgeview came from Lady Bears service or return errors.

In the third game, Ridgeview stayed close early and at 12-10 was within two points of evening the set. But two kills from Emili Brooks and another from Desi Brooks put Union up 17-11.

Ridgeview couldn’t pull any closer the rest of the way.

NUMBERS

In addition to Union’s triple-kill threat. Zoe Brooks had 27 assists and Audrey Gilliam finished with 11 digs.

Ridgeview got five kills and four digs from Haley Mullins, Makenzie Robinette recorded six digs and Alyssa Price came through with five assists.

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