VARSITY VOLLEYBALL: Foard continues to roll, sits at 8-0; Lady Red Devils drop 4-set match to Bandys while Lady Blue Devils earn 3-1 victory on Thursday

Lady Tigers’ Michelle Thao (10) looks for the kill as her team stays undefeated against the Lady Bears on Thursday, September 5. (Photo by Marcus Smith)
Marcus Smith
Sports Editor

The Lady Tigers’ varsity volleyball squad did it once again as it pushed its way to a 3-0 win (25-9, 25-7 and 25-13) over Bunker Hill on Thursday night.

Foard (8-0, 2-0) is currently on a tear with no signs of slowing down anytime soon led by Michelle Thao and Megan Dorsey.

This week kicked off Northwestern Foothills 2A conference play for the Lady Tigers beginning with a home match against Patton on Wednesday.

Foard defeated the challengers in a 3-0 sweep, as well, although Patton cut it close in sets one and three (25-17, 25-11 and 25-16).

Despite that, the Lady Tigers defended home-court with Dorsey and Thao leading the charge.

Dorsey finished that contest with seven kills, five aces and two blocks. While, Thao obtained 12 kills.

Junior Jamianne Foster also stepped up on offense with six kills of her own in the win.

Setters Haley Johnston and Sara Lingle spread the ball nicely as each had 14 and 12 assists, respectively. Johnston also chimed in with four aces. Senior Dara Shaffer garnered 14 digs to aid her team to victory.

As far as Thursday night’s road match with the Lady Bears, Foard pulled out all the stops and one couldn’t tell by the scoreboard how good Bunker Hill actually has been this season.

The Lady Bears (6-2, 1-1) had miscues on offense and defense with some lack of communication amongst each other and some over-shots.

Against a team like Foard, it’s hard to come back from as would be the case.

In terms of leading contributors for the Lady Tigers, Thao and Dorsey once again were a two-headed monster on the outside.

Thao finished with seven kills, six digs and five aces. Dorsey led the team with nine kills, as well as put up eight digs.

Shaffer earned 14 digs, once again demonstrating her hustle to the ball.

Lingle and Johnston also assisted the ball very effectively with 14 and 12 apiece.

As far as defense was concerned, Bunker Hill proved no match for the Lady Tigers’ front line, especially sophomore Martina Foster -- who disrupted the flow of the offense with six blocks. Although she didn’t earn the blocks, Martina’s big sister Jamianne contributed up front, as well.

When the two were up front together at the same time against Bunker Hill, it was a tough wall to get through.

“These girls have come to spring workouts, summer workouts and practice with the mindset of always wanting to get better,” said Foard head coach, Meredith Lombardi. “They have worked really hard as a team and it’s starting to show. I’m not sure if satisfied is the word because I believe you can never be satisfied; there is always something you can improve on.

“But overall, I am very pleased with the way my team is responding and approaching each game and the way they came into Bunker Hill. As a team, we have goals and those goals are something we try to strive for each practice, game and this season. Whoever we may face, we have to have our A game on and focus on the things we need to focus on.”

Lombardi said that teams will be looking to put pressure on them and that they have to be able to control their game and how they react. She said that mental toughness is something she and her assistant coaches have been talking with the team about.

“Overall, I think my setters Haley Johnston (sophomore) and Sarah Lingle (sophomore) have really stepped up their defense back row and are really starting to become consistent with their sets,” said Lombardi about players she has seen growth from. “Sarah is new to the team this year and I think she is starting to gain her confidence on the court. They both have done a great job transitioning into their varsity positions and running the offense.”

Lombardi believes her whole team has leadership qualities and that they all play an important role on the team and she’s seen each one be a leader in some sort of way this season.

Foard’s next’s match will be at home against Hibriten on Monday, September 9 at 6 p.m.

Bandys 3, Newton-Conover 1 (25-11, 22-25, 25-10 and 25-16)

Maiden 3, West Lincoln 1 (23-25, 25-8, 25-10 and 25-20)

Lady Blue Devils’ Sarah Wicker had 13 kills and six aces. Abbey Smith had nine kills and two aces.
Isabella Abernathy had eight kills. Adison Ford had 23 assists. Abby Gantt had 17 assists.
Maiden improved to 6-3 overall and 2-0 in the South Fork 2A conference.

St. Stephens 3, Alexander Central 0

Lady Indians’ Neila King had five aces and 15 digs. Carter Leatherman earned six kills and 14 digs.
Rylee Upton finished with six kills and four blocks. Ava Chandler obtained 12 digs.
St. Stephens (3-4, 1-1 Northwestern 3A/4A conference) will face South Caldwell on Monday., September 9.