Times Sports Editor
CLAY CITY -- Few teams have been able to solve the equation that Class 2A fourth-ranked Eastern Greene presents on the volleyball court the last two seasons. Coming into Tuesday's contest against Clay City, the T-Birds had lost just eight games out of 75 played this season and brought a 26-2 overall mark into the Eels' gym.
Clay City had difficulty matching up with the front line power that Eastern presented with Purdue-bound senior Scottie Ingram living up to her abilities by leading her team in kills and presenting a formidable block along with teammate Casie Divine.
Credit the Eels for hanging tough for all three sets however and giving Eastern fits at times with their own hitting as Hallie Brewer and Callie Dayhuff combined for 18 kills in the match.
In the opening set, Divine got her team going with a pair of kills early in the game and freshman Kelsey Fleener served up an ace to help put the T-Birds ahead 13-9 after Brewer slammed one of her kills. Clay City traded seven straight points with their opponent as Eastern held a 16-11 lead after a block by Brewer. She would trade successful attacks with Peyton Gilliat before Ingram answered. The Eels trailed 19-14 late in the set before Eastern strung together four of the next five points to help put the opening set away.
The Eels answered well in the second set, going up 7-1 after Brewer blocked a powerful attack by Ingram and Chloe Kittle tipped a ball out of reach of the T-Bird's defense.
However, top teams answer in kind and Eastern did just that, chipping away slowly at Clay City's advantage.
Kiersten Teagarden had a kill for the Eels, but Divine answered to get Eastern within 9-7, but Clay City got back-to-back kills from Dayhuff to extend the lead.
Clay City held a 12-11 lead after a tip at the net for Eastern, but Divine followed with a service ace and after a net violation by the Eels, Ingram scored off a block as Eastern went ahead 14-13.
The Eels remained within 17-15 after kills by Brewer and Chloe Kittle, but Gilliatt posted a kill and back-to-back hitting errors by Clay City put Eastern in control.
Devine and Gilliatt added kills and a bad pass by the Eels helped the T-Birds close the set on a 8-1 run.
The final game appeared as if it might be a runaway win by the T-Birds as they started out with a 13-5 lead after a tip by Ingram. Eastern began to have some hitting errors of its own as Clay City ran off four straight points that included a kill by Dayhuff, who also had 12 digs.
After closing within 15-12 and later, 18-15, Leanna Bailey posted a kill for Eastern, the Eels committed a pair of hitting mistakes and Eastern closed out the win on a net violation call.
For the Eels, Chloe Kittle had 12 digs, Brewer had 13 to go with four blocks and Emmie Kittle had six digs and 22 assists. Claire Miller had 11 digs and Alyssa Yocom had eight digs.
In the junior varsity contest, Clay City scored a 15-25, 25-19, 15-12 victory to improve its record to 11-4 overall.
On Monday, Clay City scored a conference win in a 25-20, 25-17, 25-16 victory over Shakamak.
Brewer had 11 kills, five blocks, three digs and three aces and Dayhuff had eight kills, four digs and four aces. Chloe Kittle provided four kills, two digs and an ace with Emmie Kittle adding 21 assists, two kills and three aces.
Clay City's varsity is now 12-8 overall and takes part in the Cascade Invite on Saturday.
At Clay City
Next match: Clay City (12-8 overall) travels to the Cascade Invite on Saturday.