Over its past six games the Western Hills volleyball team has gone 5-1.
Looks like maybe the Lady Wolverines are finally listening to something their coaches have been telling them for awhile.
“The kids are starting to believe in themselves,” WHHS coach Kristi Buffenmyer said after her team defeated Madison Southern 25-22, 25-14, 25-22 at Lapsley Cardwell Gymnasium.
“That’s what we’ve been trying to get them to do for what, three years now? It’s nice to have 12 wins. We were able to get everyone in and some playing time. We have six seniors and it can get kind of tough to get everyone into games.”
WHHS improved to 12-16 with the victory, and the Lady Eagles fell to 9-10.
“It wasn’t as stressful,” Western Hills senior Caitlin Mullins said about the match. “When we have more fun we play a lot better, and we don’t feel like we’re under a lot of pressure.”
Thursday’s first game was tight, with no more than a point separating the two teams until WHHS’ Morgan Hibdon served for four straight points and a 22-18 lead.
Madison Southern didn’t get closer than three points the rest of the game.
Western Hills cruised in the second game, opening with six straight points behind Darby Taylor’s serving.
The Lady Wolverines eventually extended their lead to 11 points, 20-9, and that was the final margin of their win at 25-14.
The third game wasn’t quite as close as the final score would indicate.
WHHS led 22-16 when the Lady Eagles pulled within two points with Jordan Adams serving for four straight points.
The lead was still two points, 24-22, when Madison Southern’s Raven Shearer served out of bounds, giving Western Hills the win.
“Caitlin, when she stopped smacking the ball and started swinging hard, she had 16 kills tonight,” Buffenmyer said. “She played great. Brooklyn (Etherington) is starting to find her place in our new lineup, and Amy (Mauer) is just a beast out there.
“Our defense played well. They talked and moved; they did good.”
Western Hills also excelled at serving the ball Thursday.
“That’s the first time we’ve had such a low number of service errors in a while,” Buffenmyer said. “They walked back there relaxed. I used to give them zone to serve to, but the last two games I haven’t and our service errors have gone down.
“Now I tell them go back and serve wherever you want. When you realize you’re the one causing them to make mistakes you have to make an adjustment, and that’s what we’ve done.”
Western Hills’ next match is Tuesday at home against Henry County. The Lady Wolverines will celebrate Senior Night this coming Thursday against Boyle County, then take to the road for two matches the next week to end the regular season.
“We hit a rough patch but we’re coming out of it,” Mullins said. “Most of the team are seniors. There are just four games left, and we want to go out with a bang.”