SARAHSVILLE - Message delivered....loud and clear.
State-ranked Shenandoah High came out aggressive from the start and racked up a convincing three-set sweep of visiting Barnesville in a match-up of two of the areas better volleyball teams, winning by 25-11, 25-11 and 25-13 scores on Tuesday.
Ive never been so happy with my team, beamed Lady Zeps coach Shannon Leasure, whose squad entered the week ranked 14th in the OHSVCA Division III state coaches poll and atop the OVAC Class 3A standings. This was by far the best game weve put together both offensively and defensively.
This comes at a great time with us getting ready to head into the OVACs and post-season, and we just have to hope it continues, the SHS coach continued.
Our seniors really put on a show, Leasure added. Every one of them really contributed and I cant help but feel very positive about things right now.
Shenandoah (16-1) asserted itself from the get-go with a quick 4-0 lead in the opening set.
Barnesville couldnt Diehl with an eight-point stretch of serves by Shenandoahs Morgan Diehl, who drilled four aces in the flurry to propel her squad to a 25-11 first set victory.
Shenandoahs Kylee Kasper started strong at the net, recording six kills in the opening set.
Barnesville (14-3) had its only successful stint of the night early in set two, with the Lady Shamrocks jumping out to a 7-3 advantage thanks in part to three missed serves by the hosts.
After a timeout, however, the Lady Zeps went on a 22-4 scoring spree to win going away, 25-11, for a two-set advantage.
Diehl took over at the net with eight kills, including four in a row at one point, and Ashley Zwick sparkled at the service line by starting a run of 11 consecutive tallies by the Lady Zeps.
With Barnesville unable to find a spark, Shenandoah then gradually pulled away in the third and final set, finishing it off fittingly on a pair of aces by Diehl.
After needing four sets to beat Barnesville in an earlier match (SHS won 25-13, 24-26, 25-15 and 25-22), Leasure felt her team needed to up the ante this time.
We know they are a good team that is very scrappy and plays good defense, she said of the Lady Rocks, but we also know if we stay on top in the OVAC, theyre probably who we will see in the first game so we wanted to be ready tonight.
About the only area the Zeps were less than dominant was at the service line where a dozen tries failed to find the mark, but even that was explainable.
Our plan was to serve a little more aggressively tonight, Leasure offered, and when you go for the aces (SHS totaled 12 aces), youre going to sacrifice a little bit of accuracy. Well continue to work on that.
Diehl and Kasper led the way for the Lady Zeps, with Diehl recording 15 kills, four blocks and two digs while collecting 10 points (six aces) and Kasper notching a dozen kills, five blocks, 16 digs, two assists and three points. Other stat leaders for SHS included Zwick with six kills, two blocks, six digs and 15 points (three aces); Ashlee Wukelich with eight kills, eight blocks, eight points and four digs; Jessica Long with five kills, 18 assists, eight digs and five points (two aces); Kasey King with 12 assists, nine digs and two points; Samantha Goodhart with three kills, four blocks, three assists, three digs and three points (one ace); and Michaela Warner with eight digs and two points.
On the other side, Barnesville coach Nikki McEndree was disappointed with her teams effort.
We just didnt show up...thats all I can say, the Lady Shamrocks coach said. They took it to us early and we never recovered. We just didnt get the job done tonight.
Maybe well meet again, and hopefully things will be different, she added.
Paige Hutntsman had four points, three assists and three digs for BHS while Paige Gibbons had two points (one ace), two kills, four assists and seven digs; Miranda Plumly had two kills and seven digs; Marrissa Burga had two kills and nine digs; and Sydney Bruce had nine digs.