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Union’s front line stands tall against Gate City

KEVIN MAYS kmays@timesnews.net • Oct 4, 2018 at 10:28 PM

BIG STONE GAP — Union’s front line was dominant Thursday.

Over half of the Lady Bears’ 75 points came from kills, while Union added four more points from blocks in a 3-0 Mountain 7 District volleyball win over Gate City.

BIG AT THE NET

Meghan Blagg knocked down 13 kills to lead the Lady Bears’ attack, which netted a team total of 39 kills in the 26-24, 25-12, 25-13 win over the Lady Blue Devils (10-8, 5-4).

After a tough first set that saw 10 ties and five lead changes before Union (14-4, 7-1) pulled away with the win, Blagg said the Lady Bears seemed to find their niche, particularly along the front line.

“We started to feel it a little bit. We got on a roll there and we found our mojo,” Blagg said.

Lady Bears coach Kim Moore was happy with the way her team played.

“It was really a good overall team win,” said Moore. “Winning that first set, I think, gave us some confidence. The second set we played with that confidence. Sometimes it takes a while to get going. I don’t know if it’s nerves or what.”

Moore said her team plays the best when the front line is on the attack.

“What we’ve got to do is the few things that it takes to get the ball in the air and attack. We’ve got to be in attack mode.”

The Lady Bears stayed on the attack most of the night Thursday.

Emili Brooks finished with 11 kills, 12 digs, two blocks and four aces for Union, while Jayda Smith had nine kills and two blocks. Zoe Brooks added 31 assists for the Lady Bears. Audrey Gilliam came up big on defense with 14 digs, while Krista Meredith had two blocks and eight digs.

COMING ON STRONG

After the close first set, Union took control of the match by jumping out to a 9-2 lead in the second set.

Gate City cut the lead to three points on three occasions — the last one at 13-10 — but that was as close as the Lady Blue Devils could get.

In the third set, Union rolled out to an 18-11 advantage and outscored Gate City 7-2 the rest of the way to pick up the win.

A different result in the first set could have set the tone for a totally different night for the Lady Blue Devils. But Gate City coach Amy Reed said her team has to finish before thinking about that.

“You’ve got to finish. If you’re that close, you’ve got to finish it,” said Reed. “And then, just because you don’t win that first one, you’ve got to keep fighting. You can’t just let it all fall apart. You’ve got to hold that together. You’re so close.

“And it all boils down to who wants it. If you want it, then you’ve got to something about it, and that’s go to work. And we laid a big fat egg because we didn’t want to do that.”

Aubrie Penley had eight kills and seven digs for Gate City, while Sarah Thompson finished with seven kills and 10 digs. Kaley Jenkins had 25 assists and Kinslee Hammonds finished with three blocks.

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