By Blake Faith
The Mt. Zion volleyball team won its opening home match against Charleston in two sets. Senior Macie Flemming served eight aces and had three kills in the combined sets to help lead the Braves to a conference win.
During the second set, the Braves gave up seven straight points to the Trojans to fall behind 13-18. Head coach Traci Dyer-Townsend called a timeout and what she discussed during the timeout worked, because the Braves then scored five straight points. Junior Bracie Barnes scored two straight kills, Flemming followed with two aces and senior Heather Sagot blocked a Trojan attack to give even the score 18-18.
“I think we have a tendency to get tight,” Coach Townsend said. “I said keep it simple, pass, set, hit, stay disciplined on defense. Just throw the ball up there so we can slam it down and get back our rhythm.”
Junior Kallianna Becker gave the Braves momentum on an ace. The Trojans then failed to return the ball two times in a row to give Becker two more aces to give the Braves a 23-20 lead. The Braves finished off the Trojans behind a Denver Anderson tip and a Barnes game-winning kill.
“I thought we were aggressive like we needed to be,” Coach Townsend said. And they (Charleston) were so focused on our offense and going fast when we were on. That’s how fast I want it to be. So I’m seeing glimpses of it and I want us now to be consistent. We have the tools to go fast and run some of our hitters and I saw a glimpse of that tonight.”
The Braves set the tone early against the Trojans. Sagot scored a kill point on the first play of the game. The Braves then built their lead behind Flemming’s aces and kills as well as four other aces. Junior McKenna Crawford scored two aces and Madison Koester scored two as well to put the Braves up 12-5.
Charleston received points behind the Braves failing to get the ball over the net. Then Flemming picked off right where she left off. Fleming served three aces to push the Braves lead to 20-7. The Braves won their first set 25-10 behind a Barnes kill.
The Braves also played Mahomet-Seymour last Thursday and lost 2-0. The Mt. Zion volleyball team’s overall record is 2-3. This week the Braves will play host to Mattoon (Tuesday) and Lincoln (Thursday).