The Lady Jays defended their home court Wednesday.
Washington (5-2-1) improved to 2-0 at home on the season with a 25-20, 25-10 victory against Pacific (2-5-1).
The teams had a back-and-forth first set and Washington Head Coach Susan Harms said her team has benefited from overcoming adversity in sets earlier this season and that paid dividends in helping the Lady Jays overcome some early errors in the first set against Pacific.
“The girls have a lot of confidence out there,” Harms said. “We still have a lot to work on, but they’ve been in a lot of tight games. At the Borgia Tournament, we played in a lot of tight games. The other team had 24 and we came back and when you’re in those situations it gives you that experience to be composed and do the things that you need to do.”
Washington gained momentum after a penalty negated a Pacific attack in the middle points. The Lady Jays managed to get up by two at 17-15 before a three-point run then stretched the Washington lead to five and helped the Lady Jays clinch the first round.
“Our main problem in the first set was that we just started off really awkward,” Pacific Head Coach Kersten McDonough said. “We had the weird yellow card and then we just let them run on us a little bit. Then we brought it back, but we had already dug ourselves too big a hole.”
The Lady Jays controlled the second set by getting out to a 9-1 lead. The Lady Indians forced some of the lengthier volleys of the night in the second set, but were unable to break the Washington momentum.
Harms credited the blocking up front for effectively disrupting the Pacific offense in the second set.
“I felt the second game our blockers did a better job and when you get blocked a lot, you’re always looking for other ways to get around them and if that’s not working, you have to try other things and it just wasn’t happening,” Harms said.
McDounough said her team benefited from moving Grace Smiley into a full-time setting role after she had previously split time between setting and hitting. However, she said the Lady Indians would have to improve their hitting moving forward.
“We played well, but just had poor execution on hits,” McDonough said.
The Washington offense was led by nine kills from Kassidy Phillips.
Josie Kleinheider added four kills. Josie Kleekamp killed three, Taylor Bauer two and Lacey Jaycox one.
Phillips also led the team in blocks with two. Bauer, Jaycox and Abby Redd each blocked one.
Emma Zanin contributed 10 assists. Jackie Oetterrer made six assists. Kate Freitag, Kleekamp and Phillips picked up one assist apiece.
Freitag was credited with 33 digs. Kleekamp was next on the team with 14. Phillips made 13 digs, Zanin eight, Oetterer six, Cierstyn Jacquin five, Brooklin Voss two, Kleinheider one, Redd one and Jaycox one.
Piper Linder had the most hitting success for Pacific with three kills.
Kate Taylor made two kills and Corynn Boyer, Madison Brocato and Grace Smiley made one kill each.
Boyer led the Lady Indians with three blocks. Smiley made two blocks.
Smiley had all six of the Pacific assists.
Morgan Mulford served an ace.
Genna Nickelson picked up a team-high 13 digs on the night. Haley Lucas and Mulford were next with six digs apiece. Smiley made four digs, Linder three, Taylor two, Maddie King two, Cassidy Murray one and Jaisie Kulick one.
Washington returned to Gateway Athletic Conference Central play Thursday with a home match against Timberland and next plays Monday on the road at Owensville at 6 p.m.
The Lady Indians are next in action Tuesday at home against Cuba at 6:15 p.m.