The Spartans won the first set at PH on Tuesday, 25-16, but lost the next two, 25-16 and 25-17. They battled back to tie it in the fourth set, 25-14, but were trailing, 14-12, in the fifth set to 15 with PH serving. However, the Spartans scored the next four points and pulled it out, winning the set 16-14 to clinch the match. Maddie Bowman served the last three points and had a kill for the final point to put the Patriots away.
“That was a big win,” said coach Russ Danstrom, who missed the match due to a business trip to San Diego. Assistants John Hristov and Amanda Hristov coached the team.
“They beat us twice last year, both times in five sets,” said Danstrom. “I think in the 10 games combined last year we scored one more point than they did, but they won both matches.”
Janae Blakeney had a big match for the Spartans with 21 kills and eight digs. Bowman finished with 10 kills and 19 assists while Grace Hedge had five aces and five blocks. Telia Harris had 11 kills and six digs, Caroline Hagy had 10 assists and Tori Clinevell led the team with 22 digs.
“That was a big win,” said John Hristov. “The girls just wouldn’t give in.”
Last Thursday at home the Spartans beat a scrappy Northside team in four sets, 25-14, 25-18, 20-25 and 25-12.
“It’s been a few years since we beat them so it was a good win,” said Danstrom. “We executed our game plan. Our serving beat their passing and we kept the pressure on them.”
Clinevell had 20 digs to lead Salem’s defense while Blakeney added seven digs. Hagy had six digs, Maddie Hall had five and Alex Abbott had four.
Harris had 4 blocks while Abbott, Hedge and Blakeney each had one.
“Solid team defense was key to our victory,” said Danstrom.
The offense was led by Harris’ 18 kills. Bowman had six kills and 17 assists and Hagy also added 18 assists.
The Spartans will put their four game win streak on the line tonight at Christiansburg. Next week will be a challenge as Salem has home matches against two of the best teams in the area. Hidden Valley comes in on Tuesday and Blacksburg is here a week from tonight, on September 21.
“We’d like to keep it going with five wins in a row on Thursday,” said Hristov. “Hidden Valley and Blacksburg will be a challenge next week, but it can only help us to play good teams.”
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