CHILLICOTHE — Westfall could never get on track on Thursday in a 23-25, 22-25 and 21-25 to host Unioto in a Scioto Valley Conference match.
The Shermans (11-6, 6-4) avenged a four-set loss at Westfall (14-2, 9-1) earlier this month and broke the Mustangs’ 13-match winning streak. It was the first setback of the month for the Mustangs, who hadn’t lost a match since being swept by Circleville on Aug. 22.
“Unioto played a very good match and we didn’t play particularly well,” Westfall coach Jessica Sullivan said. “We really struggled with our consistency on defense and communication, and a good team like Unioto is going to punish you every time that happens.
“Unioto’s back row play was very solid and they found the holes in our defense when they got the ball up to their hitters.”
The loss also cut the Mustangs’ lead atop the conference to just one match over Adena (10-6, 8-2), with four matches remaining in conference play.
“We talked to the girls about being in a different situation now with being on top of the conference and everyone wanting to knock us off,” Sullivan said. “That’s why it’s important to do the little things that we didn’t do tonight, because this is a deep conference where anyone can win on any given night.”
Westfall held just two leads in an opening set — 2-1 and 14-13 — that also featured five ties, the last at 20-20.
A kill from Hallie Pinkerton gave the Shermans the lead for good and a cross-court kill by Amber Cottrill clinched the opening set.
Westfall held a two-point lead on three different occasions during the second set — 7-5, 8-6 and 9-7.
“When we put together a few points we could never keep it going and get on a run,” Sullivan said. “Another area we struggled in was transitioning from defense to offense. We weren’t as quick as we need to be.”
While the Mustangs didn’t lead again in the set, a kill by Josie Williams tied it at 18-18. Back-to-back kills from Kacey Pierce, however, put the Shermans ahead 20-18 and they eventually closed out the set on a kill by Jerzi Paul.
The third set featured 11 ties, but the Shermans closed the set by scoring five of the final seven points, capped by a kill on match point by Cottrill to complete the evening.
Williams accounted for 15 kills, 14 assists and 14 digs for the Mustangs; Kristin Phillips had 13 kills and 14 digs, Claire Latham dished out 18 assists; Kayla Fleischmann contributed 12 digs and Hailey Young added 11.
Sullivan wants to see her team rally, as they did following their first loss of the season last month to Circleville, beginning on Tuesday when the Mustangs continue conference play at Piketon.
“Our team responded well when we faced adversity at Circleville and we need to do that again,” Sullivan said. “I’m confident in our leaders and the girls should see that we still have a lot of things that we need to improve on and everyone can improve something that they’re currently doing.”
Teays Valley 2
Circleville rallied on Thursday to escape Teays Valley with a 18-25, 25-20, 16-25, 25-20 and 22-20 Mid-State League Buckeye Division win..
Kenzie McConnell put away 29 kills and also had four solo blocks; Alli Nungester contributed 14 kills and 11 digs; Mariah Kemp had 11 kills and 31 digs; Jayla Parsons dished out 50 assists and also had five kills, two aces and 12 digs and Cara Cooper gathered 31 digs for the Tigers (14-4, 7-3), who continue league play on Tuesday when they host Bloom-Carroll.
The Vikings (6-11, 4-7) host Amanda-Clearcreek on Tuesday for a league match.