B-U sophomore Cora McDaniels (20) makes a pass from the back row during Tuesday’s Big Ten Conference volleyball match against Preston, while teammate Sydney Bush (right) looks on. McDaniels tallied three aces in the Lady Bucs’ three-game win over the visiting Lady Knights.
Photo by ANDREW REINER/The Record Delta
TENNERTON — A powerful cross-court spike from Mackenzie Leigh set the tone for the rest of the match Tuesday in the Buckhannon-Upshur Lady Buccaneers’ three-game sweep of the Preston Lady Knights in Big Ten Conference volleyball action.
Leigh finished the night with a season-high 14 kills and Leah Blend added 10 kills and four blocks in a match in which the Lady Bucs never trailed and stood tied with the visiting Lady Knights on only four points out of 122 total points contested. The win improved the Lady Bucs’ season record to 14-3-2 and kept them undefeated through six Big Ten matches.
The Lady Bucs also surpassed their win total from 2011, when they finished the season with a 13-14-3 overall record.
“We were definitely closer this evening to everyone being on the same page,” B-U head coach Sheena Westfall said of her team’s offensive performance, after six different B-U players recorded kills in the match.
“Looking at Preston’s defense, they didn’t really have any blockers up and they played sort of a 3-1-2 where they pulled their middle back up. I told our hitters that anything off-speed would throw them off, because Preston did try to take away the middle. Mackenzie, Leah and Sydney Bush all had a lot of short tips and hard shots down the line.
“And, no matter who we have in offensively off the bench, we have confidence that they can step in and not lose the tempo.”
The Lady Bucs won the opening game Tuesday by their most lopsided single-game score of the season, 25-6, then won the next two games by scores of 25-18 and 25-23.
B-U led the third game by as many as eight points, at 12-4, before the Lady Knights mounted their most serious threat of the match and rallied for an 18-18 tie. Leigh earned the Lady Bucs a sideout and put B-U back in the lead at 19-18 with a kill, then added kills on three of the next four points to regain control of the match for good.
A Blend kill awarded the Lady Bucs their first match-point opportunity at 24-21, and two points later, Blend finished off the match with a solo block.
“Mackenzie and Leah both had big games for us up front,” Westfall said of Leigh and Blend, who lead the Lady Bucs in kills and blocks, respectively, on the season. “I think they got it in their heads before the match not to attack the middle as much and change the tempo offensively, and I think that has come with practice.”
Through 19 matches, Leigh has racked up a team-high 139 kills and 34 blocks, while Blend leads the team in blocks with 39 and trails Leigh by just 10 kills, with 129.
Setter Lindsey Wagoner made 24 assists for the Lady Bucs and libero Sarah Ling led the defensive effort with 11 digs.
The Lady Bucs played Tuesday’s match without starting right-side hitter Courtney Reed, who ranks third on the team in blocks and fourth in kills but missed the match due to illness. However, sophomore Casey Frederick turned in two kills and four digs in Reed’s place, following up on a strong performance at the Eagles Classic tournament at Robert C. Byrd last Saturday.
“Courtney Reed was sick this evening, but Casey Frederick has been stepping up all year and earned the right to play,” Westfall said. “Tonight, she was consistent, accurate and making some big plays, and she has shown that all year.”
The Lady Bucs were scheduled to travel to North Marion on Thursday and remain on the road for a match at Philip Barbour Monday, but both contests have been moved back to a tri-match tentatively scheduled for Monday, Oct. 8.
Buckhannon-Upshur 3, Preston 0
(25-6, 25-18, 25-23)
B-U assists — Lindsey Wagoner 24, Sydney Bush 3, Leah Blend 1, Mackenzie Leigh 1.
B-U kills — Leigh 14, Blend 10, Bush 5, Sarah Gillespie 4, Casey Frederick 2, Ashley Mullens 2.
B-U blocks — Blend 4, Leigh 2.
B-U digs — Sarah Ling 11, Wagoner 7, Frederick 4, Bush 3, Desiree King 3, Brieanna Polk 3, Mullens 1.
B-U aces — Cora McDaniels 3, Wagoner 3, Leigh 2, Mullens 2.For the complete article see the 09-28-2012 issue.
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