Lebanon — The Western Boone volleyball team is finding a groove at the right time of the year.
The Stars won for the 11th time in their last 14 matches with an easy 3-0 (25-14, 25-8, 25-8) win over rival Lebanon.
“I am very happy with the way that the girls played tonight,” Western Boone head coach Laura Lawson said. “This was a big match for us in the conference against a rival. Everyone we play against in the conference plays well against us because we are undefeated. It was good that the girls came out and took care of business.
After a loss on Sept. 2 against Covenant Christian dropped them to 4-5 on the year, the Stars have bounced back.
They won their next three matches, and after splitting their next four, won five in a row before losing to Lafayette Central Catholic.
They bounced back well on Monday, making quick work of their rivals.
“It really starts with the way we have been practicing,” Lawson said. “We have the girls come in with a word of something they want to focus on. Today it was dominate. Other times it is mental toughness or focus. We really try to focus on that aspect in practice and that is helping us in matches.”
Lawson said the idea came from assistant coach Katie Whitaker, who did something similar during her college playing days.
With the Stars in a little bit of a slump, it was the perfect thing to get them refocused.
“It was just something a little different to give them,” Lawson said. “It gives the girls some ownership with what we are doing. They have really taken to it and gotten some great results.”
Tied at 4 in the first game, Western Boone took control of the game on the serving of McKenna Way.
She scored four-straight points serving, capping the run with an ace. Western Boone went up 10-5 after back-to-back kills by Kaitlin Coffman, and never led by less than four the rest of the way.
“Her serving is key for us,” Lawson said of Way. “I have been putting her in for the third rotation because we want her in early in the set. She can really kickstart us in a set and is a really good weapon for us to have.”
The second and third sets were never close.
Western Boone jumped out to a 13-3 lead in the second set and never looked back. The third set was virtually the same.
“Finishing out sets is something we have been focusing on in practice,” Lawson said. “We have been practicing that against our JV, giving them a deficit and telling our varsity to finish it out. Finishing out some of the sets in actual matches helps a lot too, because now the girls know what it feels like and they want to continue to do it.”
Emma Rolf had eight kills in the match, with Talyn Guinn adding five.
Brooke Cummins had 12 assists.
The Stars have six matches left, including three in the Sagamore Conference.
With the sectional right around the corner, Lawson likes that the Stars still have something to play for.
“I think it is going to be good for us,” Lawson said. “The girls will have to be really focused, especially in the conference matches. We are just going out there playing meaningless games, these mean something and that is going to get us in the right frame of mind heading into the sectional.”