Spring Garden prevents Sand Rock from finishing, sweeps volleyball match

Spring Garden’s Olivia Law, right, sets up for a block against Sand Rock on Tuesday. Photo by Shannon Fagan.

By Shannon Fagan, WEIS Sports Director

SPRING GARDEN – Just one night after finishing a volleyball match off against Class 4A Douglas, the Sand Rock Lady Wildcats took a step back at Spring Garden on Tuesday.

The first two sets they were right with the Lady Panthers only to let both slip away down the stretch.

Then in the third set, Sand Rock jumped out to an early five-point cushion only to see Spring Garden rally and sweep the match. The scores were 27-25, 25-23 and 25-16.

“Today they were mentally tougher than we were,” Sand Rock coach Lisa Bates said. “We had the first two games. We were in position to win both of those sets but just didn’t finish. We made some mental errors in the 20s we’ve got to work on. We were right where we needed to be but just didn’t finish.

“We don’t play again until next Monday, so guess what we’re going to be working on?”

Spring Garden coach Ricky Austin considers Sand Rock to be a measuring stick for his team when they play each other.

On Tuesday night they measured up quite well.

“That’s the kind of teams we’ve got to play against to get better,” Austin said. “It’s hard for me to get them better in practice right now, but to play against that kind of team is what we need. That was a good win for us.

“For the most part we played pretty clean. Our serve-receive has got to be solid, and for the most part it was. We still had a few miscues there, but I feel good when we can do that. I feel good about our team.”

Austin decided to start senior Allie Mobbs on the right side because of her six-foot frame to help contain the hitting of Sand Rock senior outside hitter Katelyn St.Clair. St.Clair still had 28 kills, 10 digs and two aces, but Austin said Mobbs’s presence made enough of a difference to help the Lady Panthers (14-3) win the match.

“She takes vision away,” Austin said of Mobbs. “She’s never played nowhere near the magnitude of what these games are, the intensity. She’s been a JV player until this year. She’s a senior and has been working really hard on the right side for defensive purposes.

“I told her she was starting today in athletics. I needed her to go against Katelyn. I wanted her to give us a bigger body, a taller reach on the net. She didn’t have a ton of blocks but she tipped a few. She was just in position. I thought she did a good job. When we play somebody like Katelyn, we’ve got to have better defense, better blocking.”

Up 2-0, Austin shifted gears and let senior outside hitter Libby Brown play the third set.

“I let Libby play game three because I wanted her to get her feet wet against somebody like Katelyn,” Austin said. “Libby has never played volleyball against intense hitters like that. I thought both Allie and Libby played extremely well. When I say that, it’s not necessarily their blocking and all that. It was being in the right spot, the tips, the roll shots, just having a feel for the game. Those two are getting a better feel for the game.”

Ace Austin led the Lady Panthers with 18 kills and 12 digs. Chloe Rule contributed eight kills and three blocks. Avery Steward added 27 assists. Layla Ingram posted 14 digs. Kristen Lewis delivered nine digs. Olivia Law and Brown finished with three kills and a kill respectively.

Rylin St.Clair had 37 assists for Sand Rock (16-9). Chloe Stephens posted 21 digs. Bethany Davis finished with 15 digs and four kills.

Sand Rock’s Katelyn St.Clair, right, tries to hit a ball past the outstretched arms of Spring Garden’s Allie Mobbs during their volleyball match on Tuesday. Photo by Shannon Fagan.
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