WALNUT – The Walnut Lady Wildcats, fresh off obtaining the 2021 Tippah County Tournament crown, kept their early-season momentum going in a 3-0 (25-15, 25-13, 25-19) win against Ingomar on Thursday night.

“Overall, I thought that some of the things we’re working on, we’re continuing to see some improvement,” Walnut head coach Kelley Hopper said postgame. “Some other things, we still need to do a lot of work in. I was pleased with our energy that we maintained throughout the match.”

The match began with plenty of energy for the Lady Wildcats, as they began with an 10-3 run capped off with a Belle Martindale kill. Walnut kept the energy up and maintained a sizable lead throughout the set, finishing the set 25-15 after an Elyse Story ace sealed the game. Story provided several key plays for the Lady Wildcats on the night, finishing with four kills and a pair of aces.

“She’s been really working on her timing, and getting more consistent, and I thought for the most part she did a very good job,” Coach Hopper said of Story.

“I thought the sets were definitely better,” Story said of her and her team’s performance. “And they got to balls faster, so that was better on my part, and their part, because I was able to hit it.”

The second set began with a 4-2 Ingomar lead, shifting the momentum Walnut gained in the first set. A Laura Leigh Hughes kill tied the score up at 6-6, with Walnut and Ingomar trading points until the score tied up again at 10-10. It was here when the Lady Wildcats went on a 15-3 run to end the set, taking it 25-13.

The Lady Wildcats once again fell to an early-set lead by Ingomar 6-4 before tying the score up 10-10. Ingomar did not go away, however, going point for point until a late 5-0 run gave Walnut some breathing room up 20-15 late in the third set. The Lady Wildcats were able to pull away, getting the final point off another Story kill to take the set 25-19.

Hughes had five kills and a pair of aces for the Lady Wildcats, while Martindale and Cadence Rolison had three kills and three aces, respectively.

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