SUNRISE SUMMIT – The weather is getting cooler outside, but the temperature inside the gymnasium is getting hotter as Hampshire’s volleyball squad rattled off 5 straight victories highlighted by their impressive performance on Monday night, dismantling University in 3 straight sets (26-24, 25-17, 25-20) to improve to 8-5 on the year.
Early season struggles are in the distant past as energy and enthusiasm has returned to the hardwood led by senior firecracker Lainee Selan.
“I felt like we really had it tonight,” said Selan referring to the energy of the team.
“Being energized and a leader and pumping everybody up really gets us flowing.”
Coach Megan Fuller echoed Selan’s sentiments.
“Tonight was probably the 1st time we really showed motivation to go after every ball and with that comes the excitement from the crowd, which then feeds into the excitement on the floor,” said Fuller.
“We stepped up our defense a little bit, and when we make better efforts on the floor, it makes it easier to cheer about and it builds and builds and builds.”
One of the plays that set the tone for the game was a superman type dive by Selan in the 1st match as she laid out completely and made an outstanding save, hitting the ball back over the net and scoring a point, which was cause for a standing ovation as fans looked at each other saying, “Wow.”
“When you are willing to sacrifice your body and you get a big play like that when it probably was a point for the other team, and instead she goes diving after the ball and scrapes something up, it becomes infectious to the other players,” said Fuller.
As a senior, Selan has found her role as the vocal leader on the court willing to bring the energy, and her teammates feed off that confidence, including her senior teammate Renee Killough, who dominated the nets against University. Killough led the team with service points (11), aces (5), kills (9) and blocks (4).
Emi Smith had an excellent game with 6 service points, 2 blocks and a team high 6 digs. Madison Mathias tallied 6 service points, 3 kills and 5 digs. Amelia Hicks had 5 service points and 1 ace while Callie Simmons finished with 2 service points, 1 ace, 7 kills and 1 assist.
Lainee Selan finished with 8 service points, 1 ace, 1 kill and led the team with 17 assists.
University was one of the teams that made it to states in 2019, so a 3-0 win over the Hawks was certainly a statement game for the Trojans.
“I think it was,” confirmed Fuller when asked if this was a turning point to the season.
“If we can continue to get a little bit better each game with serve receive, that will be a huge difference going forward.”
The win over University was the highlight of the week, but the Trojans also knocked off 3 other opponents over the past 7 days. Hampshire beat sectional rival Washington 3-0 (25-23, 25-16, 25-19) early last week, then shut out East Hardy 2-0 (25-17, 25-13) and Frankfort 2-0 (25-13, 25-21) during a tri-match over the weekend.
Due to Berkeley County going gold, the game against Spring Mills on Thursday has been canceled, therefore, the next match for the spikers will take place on Saturday at Washington in a tri-match starting at 1 p.m. o