Tigers open ti­tle de­fense with sweep of In­di­ans

Cecil Whig - - SPORTS - By SEAN GROGAN

sgro­gan@ce­cil­whig.com

— 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

NORTH EAST

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

CECIL WHIG PHOTO BY SEAN GROGAN

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.

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