HOUTZDALE — There is no doubt that the West Branch volleyball team can be intimidating. Especially when you have a young team with little varsity experience.
But after a shaky first set, Moshannon Valley found some confidence, despite getting swept by the returning Inter-County Conference champs on Thursday night.
The Lady Warriors won 25-7, 25-11 and 25-17.
“We knew with the first set that there would be some jitters,” said Damsels head coach Bob Lewis. “The kids seemed a little intimidated. But I told them we need to keep progressing and keep getting better each set.
“I think we did that. We really are starting six new starters. There is a learning curve there. But I saw a lot of progress today and I am very happy with that.”
West Branch came out of the gate quickly, taking a 12-1 lead before Moshannon Valley was able to score its first point not off the rally.
The Lady Warriors’ Taylor Kalke and Morgan Glace each had six service points in the set, while Emma Morlock had five. Eight of those points were aces for West Branch.
“I thought the girls came out with a lot of energy in the first set,” said Lady Warriors head coach Terry Trude. “Bob does a good job with Mo Valley’s program. They are still at that stage where they are getting better each day.
“It’s kind of hard when you are different levels because anything can happen. Sometimes it’s real consistent and other times serve-receive is tough for them.”
West Branch won the first set 25-7, but struggled to find that same energy in the next two sets.
The Lady Warriors had six hitting errors in the second game, as well as a service error.
Long service rallies by Corrin Evans and Glace helped the Lady Warriors stay in control, and they went on to win 25-13.
“It’s hard to get in a rhythm when you are playing like that,” Trude said. “But Mo Valley battled. I thought once the first game was over we slowed down a little bit. We didn’t do what we needed to do.
“But I think that’s typical of high school sports.”
Moshannon Valley’s best set of the night came in the third game, as it scored 17 points, including four points off kills and one off a block.
Marah Barnhart had four of her six service points in the set for the Damsels, while Tiffany Vanish had two.
“We really focused a lot on serving in practice yesterday,” Lewis said. “We struggled in the first set, but after that I think our serves were much more accurate. And our passing got a lot more accurate.
“This is a young group. And as they play more and more, they are going to get more confident. I saw positive stuff tonight. The score isn’t indicative of that, but my assistant and I are very happy with where we are heading.”
West Branch won the final game 25-17.
Glace finished the night with 20 assists, 16 service points and five aces. Taylor Myers added 14 kills and four service points, while Kalke had nine service points, four aces, three kills and a block.
Morlock added six service points and three kills, while Evans had seven service points.
“We wanted to have a good start,” said Trude. “We have a big week next week. We play Central Mountain, Claysburg-Kimmel and Bellwood-Antis next week. We have to clean some things up a little bit and keep improving.”
Casey Ream and Tori Gregg each had three kills on the night for Mo Valley, while Tiffany Vanish added two kills and a block.
Moshannon Valley dropped to 0-2 overall and in the ICC. The Damsels travel to St. Joseph’s on Monday.
West Branch improved to 6-1-3 overall and 2-0 in the Inter-County Conference. The Lady Warriors host Central Mountain on Monday.
West Branch won the junior varsity game in two sets.