Prep volleyball: Seymour slows down Mohawks

·4 min read

Sep. 23—MORAVIA — Jennifer Miller has a unique perspective on the volleyball rivalry between Seymour and Moravia.

Miller has not only coached in several meetings between the Bluegrass Conference foes, she played several matches against Moravia while attending high school at Seymour. It was no surprise to Miller that emotions were riding high as the teams took the court for the latest chapter in the rivalry on Thursday night.

"It's a big rivalry. It's Moravia's Homecoming. They beat us in our very first match of the season, so we knew the challenge that awaited us," Miller said. "We were coming her for some retribution. We came here on a mission."

That focus allowed Seymour to withstand the early wave of positive emotion generated by a resilient week for the Mohawks on and off the volleyball court. Seeking their fifth win in six matches, Moravia pulled away late in the opening game to earn a 25-21 win hoping to send students out to the annual Homecoming bonfire on a positive note.

Seymour, however, spoiled the party over the next three games. The Warriorettes began to fluster the Mohawks over the next two games, outscoring Moravia 68-37 at one stretch on the way to a 21-25, 25-15, 25-8, 25-22 road win.

"I was really happy with our response to the first set. We didn't play at our best at the start," Miller said. "We just had trouble running our offense in that first game and made some questionable decisions. We missed a few serves and had a hard time gaining momentum and keeping it.

"After the first set, it was like waking up a sleeping giant. The girls were out for blood after that. It was a different intensity level. It was a different atmosphere. We didn't look at all like the team that played in the first set the rest of the match."

While Seymour found a new level, Moravia seemed to lose all the energy that had carried them to a winning week and a winning start to Thursday's match. While Seymour did their part to produce points with 46 kills, 14 blocks and 11 ace serves, Moravia began to struggle at times just to get the volleyball over the net allowing the Warriorettes to build and maintain double-digit leads in each of the next two games.

"I just feel like we were tired after all the games we've played this week and how hard we practiced for this match," Moravia senior setter Destiny Nathaniel said. "All the other matches didn't really matter to us as much as this one did. This was our biggest match that we were looking forward to."

Moravia refused to go away quietly on Thursday, erasing 12-8 and 18-14 deficits forcing four ties late in the fourth set giving the Mohawks a chance of extending Seymour into a fifth and decisive game. Taylor Ruby was able to find the court on her 10th kill of the night, snapping a 22-22 tie before Maysen Trimble put down her match-leading ninth block stopping a hit by Moravia freshman Candace Walton to clinch the set and the match for the Warriorettes.

"There was a lot of pressure on us. We fed a lot off our people cheering for us," Nathaniel said. "We wanted this really bad. We started to realize it wasn't over in the fourth set and, if we could win it, we could still get this match to go our way."

The loss brings to an end a tumultuous week for the Mohawks. Already short-handed after an early-season shoulder injury suffered by Peytin Ellison, Moravia had to adjust this week after junior outside hitter Alexa Bedford was hit by a drunk driver during last week's Moravia Fall Festival.

Despite the adversity, Moravia went 4-2 this week winning 10 of 17 games played throughout the week briefly moving over .500 for the first time this season. Even better for the Mohawks was the sight of Bedford on Thursday who was not only in attendance by moving without any help giving the Mohawks an encouraging sign the junior may yet be able to return to the court this season.

"I'm happy she's out of her knee brace. She's working hard to get better," Nathaniel said of Bedford. "The most important thing is she's here. We're so happy about that."

Trimble led a balanced attack at the net for Seymour recording 14 kills on 33-36 attacking along with nine blocks. Olivia Power added 13 kills and a team-leading four ace serves while Gracie Peck collected a team-leading 21 digs in the win.

Walton led Moravia with nine kills in the match. Destiny Drew added seven kills and a team-leading three blocks.

Seymour (9-7, 3-1 Bluegrass) heads to Diagonal on Monday for a Bluegrass triangular with Mormon Trail. Moravia (9-9, 2-2 Bluegrass) heads to Moulton-Udell on Tuesday.

— Scott Jackson can be reached at sjackson@ottumwacourier.com. Follow him on Twitter@CourierScott.