BELLAIRE - Prior to Wednesday night's triangular volleyball match at The Greenhouse on Guernsey Street, Barnesville head coach Nikki McEndree knew her team would be for a challenge against Linsly and homestanding St. John Central.
The Shamrocks proved to be ready for both tests as they breezed by the Irish 25-19 and 25-17. Then, after dropping the first game to the Cadets, 25-23, they bounced back with convincing 25-10 and 28-8 victories to improve to 14-4.
"We played St. John in the first game of the season and beat them, but we knew they had improved," McEndree added. "I told the girls that we had to come in here and play our game.
"I was proud of the way we came together."
Miranda Plumly charted 20 kills, nine digs and four points for the winners, who travel to Wheeling Central tonight. Sydney Ralston scored 16 points, had three kills, two digs and an ace. Paige Huntsman added 14 assists, four digs, four kills and two points. Layna Broomhall accounted for 10 assists, four points and two digs. Paige Wright added two points, both aces, and a dig. Shasta Roberts had three points, two kills, an assist and a dig.
However, with the big win already tucked away, Barnesville took Linsly a little for granted as the Cadets survived a late charge by the Shamrocks.
"I think we kind of relaxed in that first game," McEndree admitted. "But Linsly played well, give them credit. But after that first game, we got together and played really well."
It was a total team effort by Barnesville, especially from the service line where it was a perfect 50-for-50.
Plumly was 12-for-12 on serving, with three aces. She was also a force at the net with 22 kills and 15 digs. She added eight points. Roberts topped Plumly's effort at the serve line, recording a perfect 22 of 22 with 18 points and a pair of aces. She also charted four digs and a trio of kills. Broomhall was 11-for-11 serving with seven points and a pair of aces. She also chipped in 11 assists, five digs and a kill. Huntsman added 8-for-8 serving and three points, 22 assists, three kills and a pair of digs. Ralston donated 7-for-7 serving with four points, five digs and four kills. Wright had 11 digs and five points.
"Miranda did a real nice job. She hit the ball well and the team played well behind her," McEndree explained. "It was a big team effort. That's what we're always looking for."
With the two wins, Barnesville kept its OVAC playoff hopes alive in a hotly contested Class 3A. The Shamrocks entered the week sitting in fifth place, just ahead of Fort Frye and behind Tyler Consolidated and Buckeye Trail. Magnolia and Shenandoah are the top two squads.
North can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org