HATLEY – The Hamilton Lady Lions' hitting at the net played a big factor in securing the 3-0 sweep over Hatley on Thursday night.
Hamilton won the first set 25-13, and they took the last two sets 25-16 and 25-18 to get a not so easy sweep against Hatley.
“We’ve been in some pretty tight games before like when we played Hatley and Smithville in our classic. We lost the first set both times and came back to win,” Hamilton coach Bryan Loague said. “We try not to let a lot of things rattle us. If we don’t worry about everything else, don’t pay attention to the scoreboard and just play the game, we’ll be fine."
In the first set, the Lady Lions jumped out to a 7-2 after Kaylee Joslin got the first ace of the game. Their lead would extend to 14-4 on a kill by Mollie Cockerham, and Melba Jones’ ace pushed their lead and help secure the 25-13 win in the first set.
Mallory Kendall had five straight aces to start the second set, which put the Lady Lions up 6-0. Hatley went on a run, cutting the lead to 11-8 after a kill by Emma Rose Thompson, but the run was short-lived as Madison Mitchell and Faith Imel each got aces to extend the lead to 23-14 and seal the second-set win for the Lady Lions.
The third set was a back-and-forth battle between the two teams, which included six ties.
Hatley came out swinging with Kenlee Wilkinson giving the Lady Tigers their first lead of the game and Jessie McHenry extending the lead 3-1. The Lady Lions went on a run of their own to tie the game up at 4-4 and took an 11-8 lead after an ace from Kendall.
The Lady Tigers tied the game at 13-13 with a kill by Emma Wright, but kills from Mitchell and Lann Hollis helped Hamilton pull away from Hatley to close out the win.
Hollis finished the game with a team-high seven kills for Hamilton. Cockerham had five kills, Kendall had six aces, and Mitchell added five kills and three aces. For Hatley, Emma Rose Thompson finished with two kills and two aces, and Kenlee Wilkinson had three kills.
“Mollie (Cockerham) and Faith (Imel) both had good games serving and setting the ball tonight. They’re key; if they set the ball so my hitters can hit it, we’re usually pretty decent,” Loague said. “Madison (Mitchell) is one of our better hitters. Her, Melba (Jones), Lann (Hollis) and Mollie all can do damage at the net if the ball is set right to them.”