Its on to the District Tournament for the Barnesville High Lady Shamrock volleyball team.
Thanks to dominating net play, Barnesville (21-3) earned a 25-21, 25-19, 25-16 win over River in Saturday afternoons Division IV Sectional Final on its home court.
The Lady Rocks amassed 34 kills among their top five hitters, with Miranda Plumly leading the way with 11. Marrissa Burga added eight; Paige Gibbons chipped in with a half dozen while Paige Huntsman and Kelsey Douglas contributed five and four, respectively.
The attacking onslaught was the key as far as Barnesville coach Nikki McEndree was concerned.
After a somewhat sluggish start, she said, we started to pass better and that allowed us to attack more as the match wore on.
The first set was a struggle as Rivers Jensen Caretti gave the Lady Shamrocks fits with her attacking. The 6-0 freshman pounded six kills to keep her team alive, but River struggled for three rotations without her in the front row.
From a 17-17 deadlock, Barnesville edged ahead on a Burga kill, then traded points until they held a two-point cushion at 22-20.
Down the stretch, it was three timely kills by Plumly which put the first set win into the Barnesville column.
I told the kids to relax a bit in the first set, McEndree remarked, but we thought we could capitalize when Caretti came out of the game. We just needed to start moving and communicating better.
Barnesville exerted more muscle in the second set. Down 4-5 with Huntsman serving, the Lady Rocks zoomed to a 9-4 lead which included a ace. River (10-13) could get no closer than two points over the course of the rest of the set as five kills from Plumly and four from Gibbons kept the Lady Pilots at bay. Gibbons kills were particularly timely and demoralizing because she was able to shoot a couple of them deep uncovered River corners.
The third set saw Barnesville begin to totally dominate at the net. After an 11-10 lead, Barnesville took advantage of a variety of Lady Pilot errors to explode to a 17-12 lead. From there, they were never seriously challenged. Down the stretch, a pair of Burga kills combined with more River errors put the match into the Lady Shamrocks W column.
Barnesville players had some impressive final stats. Burga chipped in with seven digs. Gibbons led the winners with 14 digs and dished out 15 assists; Sydney Bruce added 13 digs; Huntsman contributed 11 assists and seven digs; Burga chipped in seven digs; and Douglhas had a pair of ace serves and two assists.
For River, Caretti and Brielle Williams each finished with nine kills and combined for eight blocks. Setter Annie Turner led all players with 23 assists and she also had a pair of aces, three blocks and eight digs. Hannah Jones led all players with 18 digs.