GREENVILLE — The Riverheads volleyball team bounced back from its first loss of the season with a dominant straight-set victory Thursday evening over Stuarts Draft, winning 25-15, 25-18, 25-13.
The Gladiators had one day of practice to iron out the kinks from the Tuesday night loss to Fort Defiance.
“The things we were a little off on the other night were serving and our serve receive. So that’s what we spent most of our time on in practice yesterday,” said Riverheads head coach Nyssa Stapleton. “And, our communication. You can always work to get better at that.”
The Gladiators jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead in the first set behind three kills from Lauren Reese. Draft responded and rallied to pull within one, 9-8, on a pair of service aces from Payton Byrd.
Riverheads then outscored the visitors ‘15-3 to pull away. Three kills by Abbey Eavers and one by Kendyl Argenbright sparked the Gladiators to a 13-9 lead.
After a kill by Draft’s Emily Link, Riverheads scored five straight points to stretch its cushion to 18-10. Lillian Campbell then put down a kill for the Cougars, but a kill from Argenbright was good for a side-out. Five straight points moved the Gladiators’ lead to 24-11. Sydney Phillips had a pair of kills and Argenbright added two aces to move Riverheads to set point. After three points by Draft, Reese finished off the first set with a kill for the 25-15 win.
With the score knotted at 3-3 early in the second set, a kill by Eavers was good for a side-out. Riverheads scored the next six points, one on a kill by Eavers and two on service aces by Gracie Fulton, to open up a 10-3 lead. A kill by Draft’s Michaela Williams stopped the run, but Riverheads scored the next four points to take a 10-point lead, 14-4.
The Cougars put together a five-point spurt to get back in the set. Kills by Link and Hadley May and an ace from Maggie Lorenz pulled Draft to within 14-9.
Riverheads regained control up front with kills by Eavers, Argenbright and Eva Frederick increasing the Riverheads advantage to 18-11. With the score 20-15, a kill and a block by Phillips, followed by an ace from Fulton made the score 23-15, Draft pulled to within 23-18 before a block and a kill by Eavers closed out the second set, 25-18.
The score was tied 7-7 early in the third set as Draft took advantage of five Riverheads hitting errors and two service errors.
Riverheads then started to find its range once again as two kills by Eavers and one by Phillips pushed the hosts ahead 13-10.
A kill by Draft’s Williams trimmed the margin to 18-13, but Riverheads ran off the final seven points in a row to finish the match. A kill by Phillips gave Riverheads the serve and an ace by Samantha Persinger made the score 20-13. A kill and block from Eavers and a kill by Phillips moved Riverheads to match point, 24-3. Persinger put the finishing touches on the win with a service ace to finish off the three-set sweep.
Eavers led Riverheads up front with 14 kills and three blocks. She also had six digs. Phillips added seven kills while setter Dayton Moore dished out 35 assists and served five aces.
Stuarts Draft won the junior varsity match in two straight.