Pettisville volleyball coach John Horning as much as said his youthful team is doing a lot of on-the-job training this season.
Horning’s Blackbirds took a step toward earning a raise Monday night with a 25-14, 25-18, 25-13 sweep of Holgate to improve to 3-4 on the season.
“We have a lot of potential,” said the veteran Pettisville mentor. “We just aren’t always consistent yet. There are things like game speed, energy and focus that we will continue getting better with and in turn our consistency will improve. The more experience they get together, they will get better with more time on the court.”
Pettisville broke away from a 9-9 tie in the first set when Xavia Borden’s left-side shot started a 9-0 run.
Sophomore Liz Rochefort’s push, along with a tip into the middle of the Tiger defense and a slap back of an overpass, and four aces from classmate Paris Coopshaw, boosted the Birds to an 18-9 lead and a first-set win.
Karsyn Pursel’s kill broke a 3-3 deadlock in the second set, then two more Pursel kills and Leah Beck’s ace propelled Pettisville in front 11-7.
Another of the Bird sophomores, Allie King, aced the Tigers along with Rochefort’s kill from the middle and a number of Holgate attack errors increased the margin to 19-10 before Borden’s left-handed crossing shot ended the second.
Horning gave credit to his defense, especially Coopshaw returning a number of Holgate tries before the Tigers errored hitting the ball.
“Paris did a great job. Collectively we didn’t read as well as we should early but she helped hold us together and we can be really scrappy when we read well, so I hope also our defense continues to get better as we go.”
A bevy of Holgate mistakes aided the Blackbirds’ run to an 8-3 lead which they increased through the rest of the third set.
Beck had a pair of kills, King another ace, Rochefort a block and Pursel capped the night with back-to-back aces.
The Blackbirds host Hilltop tonight, travel to Liberty Center Saturday, and host Edgerton next Monday.
Reach Joe Blystone at firstname.lastname@example.org