The St. Anthony Bulldogs picked up a big win in their first match of the year Thursday, defeating South Central 25-8, 25-23.
The Bulldogs coasted without much challenge in the first set, scoring the game’s first seven points, thanks in part by three early South Central miscues.
South Central started to mount a comeback, drawing close with a 10-6 score, but couldn’t get much further, as a pair of kills by Meg Richards and Katie Kabbes helped the Bulldogs build their lead back up to 16-6.
A kill and an ace by setter Abby Stock and three kills in the last eight points from middle blocker Sydney Gibson helped the Bulldogs coast to the win.
“We’ve been working on a lot of this in practice,” St. Anthony head coach Cathy Wenthe said. “We’ve been working on pushing the pass to the net and running the offense without a lot of errors.”
The second set wasn’t nearly as easy however, as the Bulldogs trailed 10-4 early and 18-10 with the team struggling to keep the hits, as well as the serves in bounds, when Wenthe took a timeout.
“I just told them to hit the ball in the court,” Wenthe said. “Let them make the errors, don’t you make the errors.”
The deficit grew as large as 21-12, with South Central needing just four points to win the set. But an ace by Stock and a pair of kills from Shea Kinkelaar on an 8-2 run helped the Bulldogs crawl back to within four points at 22-18.
Stock served as the main facilitator all night, finishing with 33 assists.
After South Central hit the ensuing serve out of bounds and an ace from Anna Jones tied the game at 23, followed by two consecutive kills from Marci Mills earned the Bulldogs the win.
“As a team we hit .229, which is OK,” Wenthe said. “But we managed to get the jitters out of the way.”
Up next, the Bulldogs will host the Effingham Flaming Hearts on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
Contact Zachary Rainey at firstname.lastname@example.org or 217-347-7151, ext. 123.