LEWISBURG – The Franklin Monroe volleyball team was able to defeat the Tri-County North Panthers in straight sets, but the Jets got off to a jittery start at first.
Maybe because it was an away game and it took that first set to get settled in. But from about the last third of that first set on the Jets set the tone for that match and took control. The first set was the closest with a score of 25-20, but the next two sets were runaways with the Jets winning 25-15 and 25-14.
Winning that first set and particularly winning that first set on the road seems to give a team the edge in a match. That seemed to be the case on this night. The two teams battled back and forth in that critical first game – knotting the score several times. North pulled ahead 12-9 and FM coach Angie Filbrun took a timeout to get her team settled down. The team began to gradually chip away at the lead and tied the game 17-all.
“I told the girls that we need to keep the ball on our side and play our game,” Filbrun said. “They are a great scrappy team, and we had to focus on making the game ours and taking control – meaning we keep the ball on our side.”
When the Jets got a 19-17 lead it was now North’s turn for a timeout to get its team refocused. But the Jets kept surging ahead.
As the game wound down North was its own worst enemy. The Panthers had a net serve, which gave the Jets a point, then freshman Corina Conley had a viscous spike to put the Jets one point away from victory. The North coach took a second timeout at this point to break momentum, but it was for naught as North let the ball hit the floor for the game point.
In the second set it was a close match until about midway through it when senior Emilee Morris got three points in a row off of serves. North had just taken a timeout, and this crushed any hopes of a comeback in the set. This was part of a 7-2 run that put Franklin Monroe up 20-11, and the Jets didn’t look back as they won the set 25-15.
In the last set, the Jets held off a rally by North that closed to with three points, 16-13. But the Jets got their composure back and went on a tear from there to easily win the last set 25-14.
The Jets were strong in all areas of play on this night including service and setters, but the front line had a particularly good night – lots of blocks and some sizzling spikes.
“I was really, really proud of the girls,” Coach Filbrun said. “When we did the pass, set, hit on our side it worked well for us.
“Our front line was incredible,” she continued. “Mackenzie Kreitzer was lights out on the front row. And Corina Conley played great at the net; she is only a freshman so I am super proud of her.”
Next up for Franklin Monroe is National Trail.
“They are a lot like North – a scrappy team,” Filbrun said. “We just have to play our game, and if we play our game we will be OK.”
Tuesday win put the Jets at 3-4 on the season, making the Trail game even more crucial as it gives the team a chance to even up its record.