SMITHTON — The Smithton volleyball team pulled out a close game in the first and cruised in the second to beat Warsaw 25-22, 25-14 on Wednesday.
Smithton players recorded 10 aces from the service line including Madison Brown and Alissa Huddleston, who each served two aces in the span of three points in the second game.
“That’s unheard of for us thus far,” said Smithton coach Brandon Wallace. “They’ve been working very hard on serves and serve-receive. I’m pretty proud of them.”
In the first game, Smithton raced out to an 8-4 lead getting a kill from Tori Klein before Warsaw began to come back. The Lady Wildcats tied the game at 12-12 and it was tied at 13-13, 14-14 and 15-15, the last tie courtesy of a Mackenzie Weaver kill.
A Huddleston ace helped the Lady Tigers build a 22-17 lead and Morgan Hoehns ended it with back-to-back kills.
“I think sometimes it’s harder to be ahead and maintain your lead, especially if you’re a young team,” Wallace said. “They did a fantastic job of keeping focused and playing to win. We talk about it all the time about aggressive play no matter who you’re playing against.”
Wallace said a major factor was consistent serving and not being afraid to attack at the net.
“(We were) staying focused and ready for the ball,” said sophomore libero Brianna Eisenbarth. “If we made a bad play, shake it off.”
Eisenbarth had 10 digs for the night.
“This is the first year we’ve had her as a libero and I have seen her grow in a short amount of time,” Wallace said. “She is not afraid to go after any ball whatsoever and she is so mentally tough to turn her body and get the ball to where it needs to be every time, phenomenal play out of her.”
After dropping the first game, the Lady Wildcats couldn’t keep up that level of play in the second.
“We finally started being the team that we’ve been up until this game,” said Warsaw coach Shelly Hodges. “The girls have really played good. We’re 1-4 now, beat Lincoln (Tuesday). That was the team I’ve seen since we started playing. But once things started going south, then it was the old team that I heard about that didn’t talk, that would stick their head in the sand. That just wasn’t us.”
Smithton jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead, including a Whitney Fisher ace. Warsaw cut the lead to 5-3 after an ace from Taylor Goetz but Brown’s two aces were part of a Smithton run to make it 9-3. After two Huddleston aces, the Lady Tigers led 18-7.
“We were really aggressive and we all played our best,” Eisenbarth said.
Hoehns had five kills. Emmily Dunnavant and Klein each had four kills. Fisher had 14 assists.
The Lady Tigers (1-3) will face Otterville on Thursday.
Warsaw will host Blair Oaks.
Eric Ingles can be reached at 660-826-1000, ext. 1483 or on Twitter @Eric_Ingles