By BLAKE FAITH
The Mt. Zion Volleyball team wins their Apollo Conference opener against Effingham last week. Alexis Smith had three kills and two axes for the Braves.
The Braves started off the first set by shutting down the Effingham offense. Bracie Barnes scored the first point of the season for the Braves off a kill. Isabelle Holmes kept the scoring good alive when she made a block to give the Braves a 2-0 lead to start.
Midway through the first set, the Flaming Hearts tied the match 9-9. The Flaming Hearts took a two-point lead after two failed serves by the Braves.
Maddie Kendall scored twice in a row off a kill and a block to tie the set at 12-12. The Braves took their final lead of first after Holmes made a kill to give the Braves a 15-14 lead. The abrahes went on to win the first set 25-20.
The Flaming Hearts took control during the second set scoring on their first two possessions. The Braves then tied the game off a failed return and a Barnes’ kill to make the score 2-2.
The Flaming Hearts took a three-point lead to make the score 5-2. The Flaming Hearts had three straight failed returns to tie the score 5-5.
Late in the second set the Flaming Hearts took a one-point lead to make it 11-10. Smith then made a kill to tie the game at 11-11. The next possession was where the Braves seized control of the game. The Flaming Hearts committed a line fault.
The Braves outscored the Flaming Hearts 14-7 to win the second set 25-17. Smith nailed the match-winning kill for the Braves as the Braves started their season 1-0.
We came out with so much energy,” Head coach Traci Dyer-Townsend said. “Honestly, our last practices have been dead. We’ve been practicing for like almost a month. So we needed this game and the energy they brought it. So I think having senior night set the time to begin the season.”
“I think we will play some good competition this weekend,” Coach Dyee-Townsend said. “So kind of just figuring out our rhythm on the court. And we have a lot of upperclassmen playing but we have a lot of underclassmen ready to step in. So these tournaments are great for when we kill a team or we struggle to get those younger players in and kind of fill those spots and be competitive.”
The Mt. Zion Braves went 4-1 in the Olney Tiger Classic and won the silver bracket. The Braves improve to 5-1 overall on the season. The Braves will face Charleston and Mahomet-Seymour this week.