By Gene Phelps
Special to the Gazette
MYRTLE – Sarah Kate Thompson and her Myrtle teammates love everything about volleyball … even the practices.
“I wish we could play more games,” Thompson, a junior setter, said following Thursday’s 3-0 win against visiting Falkner. “This has been really, really fun. We love the matches, we love the practices.
“Coach (Robert) Gordon makes it fun.”
Myrtle, one of Union County’s four first-year programs, came off a nine-day layoff to beat Falkner 25-10, 25-11 and 25-18 to improve to 6-2 overall.
The Lady Hawks are playing this season as an MHSAA independent, so scheduling matches has been difficult as division play winds down the regular season.
“I do wish we had more games,” Thompson said. “We’ve gotten into a rhythm. We did well tonight and we’ve gotten really good. I’ve seen us improve.”
Gordon was pleased with his team’s overall performance against Falkner. The Lady Hawks were coming off a nine-day layoff. To remain sharp, he scheduled two scrimmages to keep his players fresh.
“We did a lot of good things tonight,” he said. “That’s how we pulled away in some of the matches. We served well and our communication was the best it’s been all year.”
The coach was also pleased with his team’s offensive play, especially the work of his two setters – Thompson and eighth grader Kierstyn Shoops.
“We hit our setter tonight. I haven’t been able to say that because we’ve been playing old backyard volleyball,” he said. “We’ve been trying to get it to our setter and get more of an offensive approach.”
Falkner took an early 10-8 lead in the first set off a kill from Becca Owns and an ace by Hanna Ramer.
Myrtle rallied to win behind seven service aces by Kinsley Gordon. She finished with nine aces, three kills and a blocked shot.
Kinzie Claire Waits recorded five service aces in the second set for Myrtle. Shoops had five aces and Thompson three in the match.
On the front line, Lexi Hutchenson had three kills and Amanda Watkins two for the Lady Hawks.
“We’ve worked hard on it in practice,” Gordon said. “The girls are eager and they’re getting better.”