Senior captain Tiffany Strand delivered 14 kills and three blocks to lead Ada-Borup in a three-game sweep in the season volleyball opener Tuesday night at Barnesville.
Ada-Borup (1-0) won 25-17, 25-23 and 25-14 in the non-conference match. The Cougars faced Barnesville (0-1) to open last season, but after winning the first two games, Ada-Borup dropped the next three and the match.
Barnesville found itself gasping for air Tuesday night. Each team committed its own share of early season mistakes, but the Trojans’ errors were the worst of the two.
The Trojans tied the second game 22-22 after falling behind 10-3. Ada-Borup couldn’t get a hold of any serves to send to the net, and Barnesville neared closer to a win. But on an Ada-Borup return, the Trojan front row faltered under pressure and hit two consecutive balls into the net, allowing Ada-Borup to rebound for the second game win.
Cougars coach Ruth Hayden made it clear that the back row’s inability to handle serves was the largest problem of the match.
“Two words: serve receive,” Hayden said. “We gave up about seven or eight points there in a row, and that just can’t happen. We couldn’t get the pass up, and our offense struggled to get going in that second game. If we even hope to have a chance at winning, we need to be able to hit.”
After the first two games, sophomore Monica Vega handled anything Barnesville served her way in the third, aiding in a 10-2 run that quickly separated Ada-Borup from Barnesville. And with quality ups by Vega, Strand was able to pound the ball repeatedly across the net to lead the scoring run.
“I thought Monica did what she needed to do back there for us tonight,” Hayden said. “She definitely showed that she has experience at this level. Without her back there, our three main hitters in Tiffany [Strand], Megan Kolness and Taylor Kujava wouldn’t be getting the number of kills they do on a regular basis. And that would definitely hurt us.”