On its Pink Out Night, everything came up roses for the Science Hill volleyball team.
With their annual game dedicated to breast cancer awareness, the bright-pink clad Lady ‘Toppers defeated Big Eight Conference rival Sullivan Central 3-0 on Tuesday night at the new Science Hill Gymnasium.
It wasn’t as easy as the Lady Cougars pushed the Lady ‘Toppers to the limit in all three games. Science Hill won the first two games, 25-23 and 27-25, and led only 21-20 in the third game before closing out the match 25-20.
The victory kept the Lady ‘Toppers second in the Big Eight Conference race at 9-2 and moved them to 29-8 overall. The Lady Cougars fell to 6-5 and 15-8 with the losss.
“We knew we had to win this match to stay in the conference race with South,” Science Hill coach Louise Stallworth said. “We did what we had to do against a good Central team. I just hope we don’t have to play them in the district tournament because they are dangerous.”
That being said, Science Hill’s height and athletic ability, along with a 31-assist effort by Morgan Malone, gave the Lady Cougars fits.
The Lady ‘Toppers dominated up front led by Renzey Rice with 13 kills, and Gabby Lyon with seven kills and five blocks.
Caprisha Webster had seven kills and six digs, while Anjali Reddy added six kills, seven digs and two blocks.
The surprise of the night, however, was Jaleessa Kennedy, filling in at middle blocker for Keisha Gregory. Kennedy responded to her new role with four kills, three blocks and three important aces as Science Hill pulled away in the final game.
“It was the luck of the draw,” Kennedy said. “You try to serve some winners, but you can’t always control it. When you do and you get an ace, it brings the whole team up.”
Still, Kennedy said it was at the net where the Lady ‘Toppers did the most damage.
“Gabby, Renzie, Anjali, Morgan, all of us got up tonight and were able to take control of the match on the net,” Kennedy said. “But, there was nothing easy, especially that second game. We went over 25 and had to have the entire team work their hardest not to have any balls drop.”
Central, which wore a lighter shade of pink jerseys, was led by Hailey Devault with eight kills, eight digs and two aces. Kiley Morelock had 12 assists, Ashley Reynolds had four blocks and Taylor Hicks added five digs.
However, Science Hill was able to play to its strengths, picking up valuable points in its service game in addition to controlling the action up front. The head coach added the special cause provided added motivation.
“It was a big win with it being breast cancer awareness night,” Stallworth said. “The girls were fired up because of that. They like to do different things and they like to wear their pink jerseys. Playing for someone who suffered from cancer or is going through it, that motivates them. I thought they did a good job tonight because it’s never an easy win against Central.”