SUNBURY – Junior London Davis had 11 kills, including five in the first set to lead the visiting Olentangy Orange girls volleyball team to a straight-set victory at Big Walnut in non-league action Tuesday night.
Davis had a pair kills to start and bookended the first set with one to clinch a 25-15 victory.
Madison Moll, one of three seniors, also had five kills in the opening set, including four in a 6-2 rally that gave the Pioneers control.
“I think we have a good balance,” Orange coach Katie Duy said. “Anybody on the team has the ability to step up when we need them to and I think that’s one of our strengths this year. We have a lot of depth offensively.”
“With Madison and I coming back – I feel like we really knew how to take the lead on the front row … almost like a tag team,” Davis said.
The Pioneers used their defense to take control early in the second set, winning 25-17.
“It’s something that we’ve been working a lot on in the offseason and the kids really stepped up,” Duy said. “(We’ve been working on) communication and the discipline on the block (in the offseason) and that really helped us a lot in the second set.”
Orange’s serve was the story of the third set. The Pioneers dished out five aces, including a pair each by Nina Marin and Makenzie Moll with Hanna Borer adding the fifth.
“The kids have done a good job of serving aggressively and keeping them out of system,” Duy said. “(BW) is a solid team that has good, strong, physical kids. Our goal was to keep them out of system as much as possible.”
Makenzie Moll’s pair came during a four-point rally to push the lead back out to seven after BW had closed within three. Borer’s ace put the Pioneers at match point in a 25-19 win in the final frame.
Borer led with 27 assists, Madison Moll finished with nine kills, Makenzie Moll led with three aces and Tazmin Appiah added three blocks to lead the Pioneers (1-0).
“We have a really deep bench and I feel like everybody can do the job,” Davis said. “I think this game – we really proved what we have. I’m excited for the rest of the season.”
Caroline Speelman had 11 kills and Morgan Schull and Alex Billings had five digs apiece to pace the Golden Eagles (0-1) in the setback.
“We’re not nearly as big as we were last year,” BW coach Ron Lehman said. “Orange is really good – they have a really strong team. They’re a little bit too much for us right now.
“We have new people in all kinds of spots in the lineup. They’re learning and they’re getting better. Unfortunately, we start our schedule with really strong (opponents) – so, we’re getting thrown into the fire right away.”
Next up, both teams continue non-league play Thursday night. Orange opens its home slate against Hilliard Davidson at 7 p.m. and BW visits Westerville Central at 6:30 p.m.
Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichnotwealthy or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.