LEWISTOWN — The Mifflin County volleyball team played its most competitive game of the season but came out on the short end in a 3-0 score to Red Land in a Mid-Penn Commonwealth showdown Tuesday evening.
The Huskies lost 25-17, 25-21 and 25-22 to drop to 0-4 overall and in the league. The Patriots improved to 1-1 overall and in the conference.
“We are much improved from last season. They have been playing together for quite some time and they’re probably the most athletic team Mifflin County has seen in volleyball,” Huskies’ coach Krystena Mayo said. “I’m proud of them. It’s going to be a good season.”
Mifflin County struggled with its service game in the first set. Red Land capitalized by going on an 8-2 run to make it 10-2 and then closed out the set with a 6-0 run. Madison Myers had seven service points and Alley Stailey had six for the Patriots.
“They have trouble adjusting to serving in general. We have trouble gauging out on the court, adjusting to short, they pull in for a short serve and the next thing they can’t adjust to a long serve. It’s a mind game with them,” Mayo said. “We struggled with our service quite a bit, but it’s something we are getting better at. Servicing has always been one of our struggle points.”
Giana Hoppel collected three service points and three digs for the Huskies in the first set. Teammate Kashia Smith had five service points, including an ace.
“We have more options to play with this year. Kashia Smith is a sophomore coming in as a setter. She’s strong, has great hands and excellent communication skills on the court,” Mayo said. “She’s going to be a player to watch out for the next couple of years. I’m really proud of her for stepping up. I’m looking forward to watching her grow.”
The Huskies upped their game in the second set, challenging Red Land point for point. the score was 8-8 before the Patriots built a 17-11 lead. Mifflin County narrowed the Patriot advantage to 21-20 before the visitors won the final three points on the serve of Myers.
“Obviously, we came around. The girls get in their heads a little bit. The first time we play a team, obviously, we are always the underdogs in the Mid-Penn, so that first set is normally something we struggle with,” Mayo said. “In the second set, we got used to reading the hitters, reading the serves and we were able to capitalize a lot more than in the first set. Their confidence level seems to build much more in the second set and that’s where the girls made some good plays.”
Kiana Sechler had three kills in the set and paced Mifflin County with six for the game. Jade Morningstar finished with two kills in the second.
“Kiana always comes through. She’s a senior who has a lot of heart in the game. She’s so powerful, especially on the outside,” Mayo said. “She has a lot of power and her vertical is the best one out there. I’m really proud of her,”
The Huskies appeared to be in control of the third set, building a 16-10 advantage on the service games of Caitlyn Kick and Maddie Myers. Unfortunately, Mifflin County tightened up and couldn’t hold the lead. Red Land closed out the game on a 15-6 run for the victory. Sechler had two kills and Josie Kibe one.
“We have trouble capitalizing. It’s kind of head game with these girls. We were leading in the third set by six points and couldn’t hold it,” Mayo said. “I told them in the huddle if you get into a little rut, you can’t let it get to you. Near the end of the set it was like they were walking on eggshells. That’s kind of where we got stuck. They got nervous and it went all downhill from there. You can’t get nervous. You just have to play your game.”
The Patriots won the JV contest 2-0 (26-24, 25-16).
Mifflin County hosts Chambersburg on Sept. 16.
Red Land 3, Mifflin County 0
25-17, 25-21, 25-22