NEW ALBANY - New Albany improved to 4-1 in Division 1-4A volleyball with a 3-0 straight set win over Ripley by scores of 25-13, 25-17 and 25-16 on Thursday.
The Lady Bulldogs took an early 4-0 lead in the opening set and Ripley could never get any closer than a three point margin at 7-4 as New Albany finished on an 18-9 run. Janae Shackleford, Greta Blakemore and Rosalee Roberts had three kills apiece in the set while Masey Kate Adams had 11 assists from her setter position.
"Janae had a very good game, she struggled there a little bit in the third set and I talked to her, told her what adjustments she needed to do and she made those adjustments," New Albany coach Ashley Connolly said. "She was hitting perfectly fine in the first two sets. She did awesome."
Ripley was hanging close with New Albany in the second set, but a block by Vakeria Jett which was followed by a kill by Blakemore, sent the Lady Bulldogs on their way to the 25-17 win as they closed on a 18-11 run. Blakemore had four kills in the set while Maggie Moore chipped in two service aces.
Ripley sprinted out to the early 8-1 advantage in the third set as the Lady Bulldogs committed errors to help the cause, but New Albany was able to pull even at 10-10 and close on a 15-6 run to secure the 25-16 set win and take the match 3-0.
"We have to win every set, every set counts, every point counts, everything counts," Connolly said. Because if it does come down to us and Corinth being tied, then they will have to break it down to that and that's what I've discussed with the girls, you know, yes you can make mistakes here and there, but we can't constantly make them.
"Once you make it, get over it and that's part of our problem is that we do not get over mistakes, we just dwell on it."
Connolly went on to recognize several other players that contributed to the division win.
"Hannah (Hughes) had a spectacular dig, Maggie did Maggie, Greta had a rough night, but she still had those kills when we needed them," Connolly said. "Vakeria and Masey, we have been working a while on their connection, sometimes it's there and sometimes it's not, so we've just got to work on that part. Rosa had a very good serving game as well."
Blakemore led the Lady Bulldogs with 10 kills, Shackleford had 6 and Roberts added 5. Adams had 23 assists from her setter position while Blakemore had four aces and Moore finished with three. Shackleford had three blocks and Moore contributed 18 digs.
New Albany will host Corinth on Thursday in a critical match for first place in Division 1-4A and will entertain Tishomingo County on Tuesday in their final division match.
JV and Junior high sweep
New Albany won the JV match 2-0 over Ripley and the undefeated New Albany Middle School VolleyDogs also won 2-0.