The Clay City volleyball team defeated South Putnam in three games Thursday night, but the match really seemed to be decided in the first game.
The Eels won 25-10, 26-24 and 25-18.
In game one, it was all Eels, as they got out to a 10-4 lead and did not let up. While Clay City (2-0) was getting long service runs, the Eagles, by comparison, struggled with mental errors and communication problems early.
After South Putnam (0-1) had pulled within four at 11-7, Clay City's Laykyla Cook ran off seven straight points to give the her team an 18-7 lead.
They ultimately closed out South Putnam 25-10.
"I think the keys were definitely our serving and communication," Eel coach Ashley McCullough said. "I thought our communication was outstanding compared to the other night against Union. That was one of our downfalls. Just the overall transition, getting up for the attack, being there fore tips."
In game two, South Putnam seemed to have recovered. They took their first lead of the match at 5-4 in the second game.
They held that lead most of the way, but after taking a 22-17 lead, everything fell apart.
After a side out, Kyann Roe served for six straight points to give the Eels a 24-22 lead. They took the game 26-24.
For Eagle coach Jill Newton, the problem at the end of game two was the same problem her team had all night -- they played not to lose.
"I didn't think that we were playing aggressive," Newton said. "I thought the times that we were playing aggressive, we played well. I felt like they were just trying to play in safe mode and then were over-correcting things."
In game three, things were more like game one again. Clay City took control early and rode it the rest of the way. A net serve from the Eagles closed out the game and match at 25-18.
Shelby Hane led the service attack for Clay City, collecting 11 points and three aces. Roe and Kelly McCullough also had three aces each.
McCullough also picked up six kills, while Olivia Schindler had 10 assists.
For the Eagles, Kaleigh Miller was the main bright spot, leading the team with six points, two aces and eight assists. The point was not lost on her coach.
"I thought Kaleigh Miller played a really outstanding game," Newton said.
Katelyn Sibbitt also picked up two aces, while Oceaia Boetjer led with six kills.
For the Eels, it's now on to Cloverdale on Tuesday. With her team sitting at 2-0, Coach McCullough wants to see more of the same.
"We want to keep the momentum on our side and keep the communication like it was tonight," she said.
The Eagles host the Eagle Invitational at 9 a.m. Saturday. Newton certainly has some improvements she'd like to see made.
"We're going to be working on serve-receive, serving and a little bit better communication. If we can correct those things and stay consistent, instead of just playing a couple good plays aggressively and falling back into safe mode, we'll be okay," she concluded.
At South Putnam
Clay City 25 26 25
South Putnam 10 24 18
Points -- Hane 11, Roe 9, Schindler 8, Cook 7, McCullough 4, Vansickle 2, Higgens 2 (CC), Miller 6, O. Boetjer 5, Sibbitt 3, Trauner 3, Klotz 3, Goss 2, Egold 1, Dabkowski 1 (SP).
Aces -- Hane 3, Roe 3, McCullough 3, Schindler 1, Cook 1 (CC), Sibbitt 2, Miller 2, Egold 1, Goss 1 (SP).
Kills -- McCullough 6, Cook 4, Vansickle 4, Drelick 3, Higgens 2 (CC), O. Boetjer 6, Wombles 5, B. Boetjer 3, Egold 2, Sibbitt 1 (SP).
Assists -- Schindler 10, McCullough 5 (CC), Miller 8, Klotz 5 (SP).
Next match -- South Putnam hosts the Eagle Invitational at 9 a.m. Saturday. Clay City visits Cloverdale at 6 p.m. Tuesday.