MOUNT VERNON — The Mount Vernon High School volleyball teams opened the home portion of their schedules on Thursday night, hosting the Delaware Hayes Pacers at “The Hive.” The varsity Yellow Jackets hung tough, but dropped their match in four games, 25-15, 18-25, 25-18, 25-23.
“This hurts, but I’m proud of them,” said Mount Vernon coach Shae Baxter of her team. “We did a lot of things right. We just have to eliminate the mistakes on our side and we will be fine. ... I knew that we were pretty well matched with (Delaware), so I expected a good match.”
Mount Vernon jumped on top of the Pacers early, leading Game 1, 6-3, but Delaware kept battling and put together a 13-4 run to go ahead, 16-9. The Jackets scored three straight to keep it close, but a series of miss hits and communication problems allowed Delaware to rattle off seven straight points. The Pacers returned the favor, allowing Mount Vernon three more points before finishing the 25-15 game.
“We needed to move our feet; it was like we were stuck in mud,” said Baxter. “We couldn’t do anything. We were falling on the floor and not moving our feet. We weren’t doing what we were supposed to do.”
Game 2 was again a battle, but this time, the Jackets came out firing. Delaware took a 3-1 lead before Mount Vernon answered with five straight points. Kills by Karina Shackle, Alex Miglin, Jauni Gleason and Sam Arcilla led the way. The teams then traded points and the serve five straight times. It wasn’t until a pair of Delaware errors that Mount Vernon gained any significant lead.
It was short-lived, however, as the Pacers pulled within one, 14-13. Behind the serving of Sam Nuce, the Jackets responded with a 6-0 run to regain a comfortable lead, but Delaware wouldn’t go away. Four straight Pacer points made it a three-point game, but that’s as close as they got. Following a time-out called by Baxter, Mount Vernon closed out the contest with a 5-1 run. Kill by Nuce and Courtney Burke along with a block from Rachel Ward and Miglin helped to finish the game, 25-18.
“I think we realized the importance of (this match) and we came together,” Baxter said. “We got the job done.”
Back to even, Delaware went to work in Game 3, jumping out to a 7-1 lead. The lead grew to seven, 10-3, before the Jackets began to fight back. A series of strong plays closed the gap to four on three occasions, but each time the Pacers responded and took the 25-18 victory.
Delaware kept up its attack in Game 4, jumping out to a 6-1 lead. Mount Vernon once again answered, however, taking an 8-7 lead behind the serving of Nuce. Delaware managed a pair of kills to retake the lead, but began to meltdown and the Jackets took advantage. Mount Vernon went on a 6-1 spurt to go ahead, 14-10, but they too hit a rough patch and saw the Pacers storm back to take an 18-17 advantage.
Baxter called another time-out to calm her team, and her team responded in a big way. Kills by Arcilla and Miglin and a combined block by Gleason and Arcilla helped Mount Vernon retake the lead. As with the rest of the match, however, Delaware wouldn’t go away easy. The Pacer scored four in a row of their own, forcing another Jacket time-out. Mount Vernon outscored Delaware, 3-1, to tie the game at 23, but a hit out of play gave the Pacers matchpoint. Another hit out of play followed, giving Delaware the victory.
“We keep killing ourselves,” said Baxter. “We get down in a rut and keep making mistakes. Then we have to pull ourselves back out. We need to eliminate our mistakes. If we could play three great games in a row every time, that would be awesome.”
Miglin led the way with eight kills for Mount Vernon. Shackle had six kills, and Ward had five kills. Kate Reynolds made 15 assists, and Nuce had 30 digs.
“Delaware always has a lot of strong hitters and they are a strong team; we knew that coming in,” said Baxter. “We put our big blockers up there and I think they did a good job for the most part. Our diggers did a nice job whenever our blockers couldn’t get a hold of it.”
In junior varsity action, Mount Vernon won 25-18, 25-12. Jessica Roden had two aces, and Taylor Boucher and Ashley McCann each had one ace. Mount Vernon dropped the freshmen match, 25-13, 25-16.
The Jackets are back in action on Saturday, hosting Coshocton for a nonleague match at 10 a.m. Then on Tuesday, Worthington Kilbourne comes to town for another nonleague match.
“Coshocton is a strong team,” said Baxter. “We’ve got to put this one behind us and look ahead. Then, we’ve got Worthington Kilbourne on Tuesday.”