FREDERICKTOWN — Being the defending Mid-Buckeye Conference champion, the East Knox volleyball team has a big target on its back this year. On Tuesday, Fredericktown aimed hard and straight and drilled that target right in the middle.
The teams battled hard for two sets, but after barely winning the first two, Fredericktown smelled blood and went for the kill in a 25-20, 25-23, 25-15 victory at Fredericktown.
“I think we’re getting more consistent,” said Fredericktown coach Marilyn Rutherford. “We were looking to hit. ... It was a good game. East Knox came to play. They do some good things out there.”
The teams went back and forth in Game 2 with East Knox taking a lead midway through it. But, Fredericktown found the Bulldogs’ weakness, exploited it and went on for the victory.
“We just had a breakdown in communication, a breakdown in movement. They found our weakness and kept on drilling,” said East Knox coach Brooke Doup. “I think Fredericktown wanted it harder than we did.
“I takes us a while to warm up. I felt by the end of the first game, we were warm, but we just couldn’t find our rhythm.”
The Freddies (5-2 overall, 4-1 MBC) controlled the net with their size and ability to tip the ball into the holes in the East Knox defense. They had 34 kills on the night, led by Lyndsay Briegel and Devan Kennedy with nine each. Lydia Webster added eight as they remained a game behind Centerburg in the race for the league title.
“This was what we needed. We’ve got the size and the experience to do that. Hopefully, it will boost our confidence,” Rutherford said.
Briegel was a big force all over the court for the Freddies. In addition to her nine kills, the junior had 16 digs, eight points and one block. Kennedy added six blocks, three points and two digs to go along with her nine kills, while Webster had two digs, one point and one block to go with her eight kills. Taylor Keener checked in with 16 assists, 10 digs, nine points and one kill; Tierany Smith had 13 assists, eight points, four digs, three kills and two blocks; Hayley Derikito had six points, three kills and a block; and Courtney Jackson had five points, three digs and one kill.