MOUNT VERNON — It took them a while to get things going Friday, but the Mount Vernon boys volleyball team was able to put it together and roll to a 23-25, 25-23, 25-19, 25-19 victory over visiting Hilliard Davidson.
“They (Davidson) are one of the top teams in the Central District, so we knew we had to come out ready to play tonight,” said Mount Vernon senior Carter Cassell. “We came out in the first not playing with as much intensity. Then, we really focused, found out what we needed to do and made the plays.”
Things looked okay early for the Jackets (6-1), who took a 14-9 lead in the first match. But, Davidson (3-2) scored the next four points, then used another four-point run later to take control and grab the victory.
“We were kind of slow getting the pieces of the puzzle together,” said Jacket senior Ben Bennett. “In the first game, I had no blocks and that’s my main job. In the second, we started getting our passes, our hits and our blocks down and we were able to capitalize.”
The second match continued the close fight between the squads with Mount Vernon finally able to grab control late and post the victory.
“Between the first and second games, coach (Alan Cassell) said we needed to focus and get our heads on right. We did,” Bennett said. “We went to the hitters that were hitting well and were able to capitalize on it.
“We were able to move the ball around and it opened things up offensively.”
Davidson scored the first four points of the third game and still led 8-3 before Mount Vernon was able to take control. Bennett, Cassell and Chris Ingersol started getting their spikes down as the Jackets used a 6-0 run open things up and get the win. That momentum carried over to the final game, and Mount Vernon was able to come away with the victory.
“We found the hits we needed. They couldn’t stop our middle hitters, so we were able to find Ben and Andre (Nixon). That drew the blockers there, then we started setting outside and were able to take advantage there,” Cassell said. “I think everyone stepped up tonight. Roger Melick really stepped up and controlled the back row. When we play scrappy like that, we can play with any team.”
“This was a great win for our team against one of the best teams in central Ohio,” said Mount Vernon coach Alan Cassell. “We played somewhat flat in the first set but did a nice job of battling back to take a crucial set two. Sets three and four we just had to run our offense to pull out the win.”
The Jackets were led by Cassell, who had 29 assists, 21 kills and nine blocks. Chris Ingersol added 27 assists, 12 kills and one block, while Bennett had 18 kills and seven blocks. Roger Melick had seven digs, Chris Omahan had five kills and two blocks, Ben Miglin had three kills and two blocks and Andre Nixon had two kills and six blocks.
“Roger Melick had his best game of the season and really did a great job passing so we could run our offense. Ben Bennett set a career high in kills and really came to play,” said coach Cassell. “When Chris Ingersol and Carter Cassell both have close to 30 assists you know our offense is running well. Carter also played a heck of a game at the net, setting a season high with 21 kills. He has the ability to take over a match when our whole team is playing this well.”
“This was a lot of fun. We had a lot of people come out and the extra cheering really helped us,” Bennett said of the large crowd.
Mount Vernon was ranked No. 25 in the nation in the latest ESPN Fab 50 On the Rise poll. Several other Ohio teams were also ranked — Cincinnati Elder (8), St. Xavier (11), Centerville (26), Hoban (31) and Cincinnati Moeller (33).
Mount Vernon’s junior varsity swept the Wildcats, 25-15, 25-15.
Cole Shoemaker led the Jackets (5-1) with nine points and one ace. Steve Barcus added four points on three aces, Ethan Beckholt had five points and one ace and Ben Robinson had four points.
The freshman team made it a clean sweep on the night with a 15-25, 25-16, 25-21 victory over Davidson.
Dan Tharp led the Jackets with eight points and one ace. Jake Scott and Josiah Burney added five points and two aces each, while Cody Peterson had six points.
The Jackets will host Dublin Jerome on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. at The Hive.