MEXICO — Despite leading by seven points in the middle of the third game, the Mexico varsity girls volleyball team was swept 3-0 by Pulaski on Tuesday at Mexico High School.
The Blue Devils won the match 26-24, 25-21, 25-19.
Mexico started off with a four-point run in the opening game and stayed neck-and-neck with Pulaski throughout. The Tigers led toward the end of the game 24-23. Pulaski pushed it to extra points and finished on a three-point streak after a spike from Briana Urquhart went long, giving Pulaski a 26-24 win.
The second game began much the same, with both teams going back and forth. Pulaski’s Emily Ballou gave the Devils a strong lead after four straight serves that ended in success for Pulaski. Mexico made a little bit of a run at the end with three consecutive points, but Pulaski finished it off to take the game, 25-21.
However, in the third game, Mexico got off to a strong start including an eight-point run behind three of Melisa Button’s aces. But a six-point run from Pulaski’s Rachel Sedore and another 11-point streak from Ballou fueled the Devils’ 25-19 triumph to close out the match.
In just its third match of the season, the Mexico team’s youth is showing, Coach Margaret Dadey said. The Tigers’ roster features only two returning starters. However, Dadey said the players “gave it their all” in the match.
When the Devils started going on longer runs, including a couple five-point streaks, Dadey mentioned that was when the team’s inexperience was truly apparent. During those streaks, Dadey was trying to get her team to focus on the defensive side of the ball.
“Understanding where their position needs to be and how quickly they need to react is something that’s a work in progress,” Dadey said. “We were hoping our defense would turn into offense, but it just didn’t turn out that way.”
Button, just one of the two seniors on Mexico’s roster, led the team in almost every statistic in the loss. She tallied nine kills, nine digs, six assists, and five aces. Sophomore Emma Lawler had seven digs, four kills, four assists and an ace. Mackenzie Craig chipped in six digs and a kill. Urquhart notched three digs, a kill, an assist, and an ace.
Dadey praised Lawler for her offensive capabilities and height on the spike. She also mentioned Button’s leadership capabilities that the coaching staff asks of her “every game of the season.”
“We would love to go to Emma as much as possible because the other girls are inexperienced. For her, she’s got a lot of talent and skill and we’d like to use her as much as possible,” Dadey said. “Melissa’s been that leader for us for three years. It’s no different than what she’s used to. We just need a lot more this year than ever before. The layoff has been tough on us.”
The Tigers (1-2) will play a home match today against Jordan-Elbridge. The Eagles are currently 3-0 after a three-game sweep against Hannibal on Tuesday.
“We’re just going to try to get in as many reps as possible. We’ve only got the one practice to get ready,” Dadey said. “Nobody has had many practices leading up to the season. It’s just about making good use of our time (on the court).”