Tigers open title defense with sweep of Indians
— Not many coaches could be critical after a straightset victory, but while Rich Wilson pointed out some positives of his Rising Sun team’s 3-0 sweep of North East, there were a few things he didn’t like.
“I wasn’t terribly unhappy, but I wasn’t terribly happy,” he said.
The Tigers swept the visiting Indians by set scores of 25-8, 25-11 and 25-8 Monday in the 2A East Region Section I volleyball semifinals.
The first game was tied at 6, but Rising Sun went on a 19-2 run to finish the set. Game two was also
tied at 5 early, before the Tigers again pulled away.
“I kept most of the first team in most of the night because they were starting slow. We all hate when we have a match on a day when there’s no school, because you never know what’s going to show up,” Wilson said. “They were actually kind of flat. I was not happy with them the first two games, the third game we got on top of them with our serves. We were a little off the mark, but finally in the third game we started faster and that’s when I started subbing.”
Senior Sarah Williams led the Tigers to a 7-0 start in the third set with a dominant run of serves. Williams had 11 aces on the night, while also handing out 22 assists.
Senior Breanne Haley recorded 13 kills, Lacey Swartout had six kills and a dig, Mackenzie Blevins recorded seven assists, three kills one dig and a block and Maddy Eckerd added four kills one block and one dig.
Wilson’s post-game critiques could only come from the coach of an undefeated, defending state champion, but it was followed by a ringing – and scary for upcoming opponents – endorsement.
“We’ve had a target on our back all year, but I will say that this team is demonstratively better than last year’s team,” Wilson said. “I think we’re much, much harder to defend with Mackenzie hitting off the right side. She can put the ball on the floor and it just makes us much harder to defend. I think when we’re really sharp – we weren’t really sharp tonight – we’ll drive blockers crazy. They have a tendency to go out to Breanne and Lacey, but then we’ve got Mackenzie on the other side.
“So, I think we’re a much stronger team than we were last year.”
Rising Sun hosts second-seeded Fallston at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Follow Sean Grogan on Twitter: @Sean_CecilWhig
Rising Sun senior Sarah Williams serves during a 7-0 run to begin the third set during the Tigers’ 3-0 sweep of visiting North East in the 2A East Region Section I volleyball semifinals on Monday.