BELLAIRE - Little things can sometimes make all the difference in high school volleyball.
Bellaire did those things right Monday night.
Morgan Runyan had eight points and four aces, while Hunter Eden scored seven points, with four kills and two aces as the Big Reds swept Buckeye Local 25-22, 25-21 and 25-20.
Bellaire’s Hunter Eden (3) and Buckeye Local’s Kierstyn Czuchran (28) battle at the net Monday night at Bellaire High School. Looking on is Bellaire’s Melissa Cordy (11).
''We needed this,'' said Bellaire head coach Kaye Sechrest after watching her squad improve to 4-3.
''Those are the matches we need to be able to win.''
The Buckeye 8 contest was as hotly contested as as the warm, muggy conditions inside the Guernsey Street gym. But in the end, it was a scoring surge by the Big Reds midway through the third set that proved to be the difference.
''We started to tighten up a little bit there (toward the end of the third) ... we just have to stay mentally tough,'' Sechrest said.
The Big Reds jumped out to an early third-set lead before the Panthers evened things up at 6-6. From there, Bellaire went on an 8-2 run, prompting Buckeye Local head coach Janelle Windsheimer to call time to try to stem the tide.
Bellaire kept the pressure on, however, scoring four more points before a Panthers point made the score 18-9.
Buckeye Local did make a run, however. With Bellaire leading 23-11, the Panthers went on an 8-0 run before the Big Reds closed things out.
The first set was tied 22-22 and Bellaire scored the final three points. In the second set, Bellaire recorded the final four points after it was knotted 21-21.
Sechrest was pleased with her squad's ability to close things out, along with its hustle, which has improved every match.
''I want to improve day by day,'' she said. ''Wins and losses, yeah, sure, I'd like to have the wins, but I want to see improvement.
''I don't want them, like (Tuesday), to go back three steps. I want them to go forward, if not one, but at least a few more.
''Hopefully, we can keep learning and keep it up.''
Talia Duffy added six points and 12 digs for Bellaire, while Mary Garloch chipped in with five points and 15 assists.
Morgan Fedorko paced the Panthers (2-5) with nine points, eight kills and six digs. Lexus Fedorko added eight points, while Morgan Staten had eight points and nine digs. Kierstyn Czuchran and Becky Zeroski added nine and eight digs, respectively.
''Our girls played well together and we were working hard,'' Windsheimer said. ''We just came up short.''
The Big Reds also took the jayvee match 9-25, 25-13, 25-15.
Thorp can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org