NICEVILLE — Rocky Bayou Christian School’s gym dubbed “The Dungeon” didn’t intimidate the Laurel Hill School volleyball when the Hoboes visited the Knights on Tuesday.
One night after a four-set match with Pleasant Home (Ala.) the Hoboes had enough left in their collective tanks to beat Rocky Bayou 3-0 by scores of 25-20, 25-18, 25-21.
“We played last night and went four tough games with Pleasant Home and we were a little tired tonight,” Hobo coach Kent Zessin said. “But as long as we were making our passes to our setters, and our setters were getting it up, we were able to do a pretty good job with our kills.
“We served the ball pretty well again tonight. Defensively we did a real good job.”
Zessin simple formula for success worked time after time for the Hoboes (3-2) as smart play and timely kills proved to be the winning ticket.
The early points of the first set saw the teams jockeying for position.
Maria Denbow gave the Knights an early boost as Rocky Bayou led 3-2.
An ace by Lauren Gordon in serve put the Hoboes up 5-4 and they never trailed again the first set.
A pair of unforced Knight errors gave Laurel Hill its biggest lead of the first set at 17-11. Rocky Bayou never got closer than three points the rest of the set.
Denbow and Hannah Barber sparked a quick Knight start in set two as Rocky Bayou led 7-2. But the steady Hoboes didn’t buckle when behind.
A kill by Kaylee L’Homme stopped the early Knight run.
Laurel Hill trailed 8-4 when Gordon stepped to the service line. By the time the Knights broke Gordon’s serve the Hoboes had tied the set.
The teams traded points until the 14-14 point at which time Laurel Hill went on an 11-4 run to finish off the set. Bridget Zessin, Breanna Trunk and Gordon all played a big part in the finishing run of the set.
Laurel Hill never trailed in the third set as the Hoboes built a 15-5 lead before the Knights rallied back behind the play of Emmaly Smith and Lauren Wright.
But the hole was too deep for Rocky Bayou to dig out of as Laurel Hill held on for the win.
Gordon and Zessin each had five kills to lead the Hobo attack. Gordon also had five aces.
Zessin had three blocks. L’Homme and Jhanea Griffin had two blocks each.
Morgan Meeks had eight assists and Trunk had four assists.
Kent Zessin admitted the team is still has work to do, but he likes what he sees at this point of the season.
“We are in a process of learning,” he said. “It’s my first year back in four or five years and they are picking things up slowly but surely. I’ve got a couple of pretty good hitters in Lauren Gordon and Bridget Zessin.
“If I can get my two bigs; Jhanea Griffin and Kaylee L’Homme there with them we will be four deep at the hitting position, which at 1A is pretty nice. I’ve got two pretty good setters and good defense to back that up. We are just going to continue to work every day and hope for the best come district time.”
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524.