CARTERVILLE — The first set between Carterville and Du Quoin went down to the wire, but the Lady Lions rallied to sweep the Lady Indians, 25-20, 25-9, in the first game of the conference schedule on Tuesday night.
“Our side of the River is absolutely loaded this year,” said Du Quoin coach Nathan Emrick. “You are going to have to come to play every single night. His kids are always so gritty and tough and play so hard. They are not going to give points away and make you earn every single point you got. Du Quoin was down a player, which even makes them more dangerous the next time we play them. I thought we did a really good job of having multiple hitters step up and earn points tonight.”
Carterville won its 10th game in a row to improve to 16-1 while Du Quoin, which was missing some players because of COVID-19 protocols, fell to 4-3-1 and 0-1 in the Mississippi Division.
“Still cranking along,” Emrick said. “We had three or four different hitters with five or more points and I thought Sydney Stuck tonight had the best game of her season. She just played lights out. She was a beast at the net on defense and scored in stretches when we needed someone outside to give our inside players a break.”
The Lady Indians led 11-8 after a great service run that included two aces by Sophie Miller that turned a 7-5 deficit into a 10-8 lead. The Lady Lions then gave them a point on the sixth of the 10 errors in the first set to give the Lady Indians their three-point lead.
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The set went back and forth for next 14 points until Ally Lange scored from the middle and Amanda Howerton followed with a kill from the left side to give the Lady Lions a three-point lead, 19-16.
With Carterville still holding a three-point lead at 23-20, Sydney Stuck scored from the middle and Bella Mavigliano closed it out with a kill off a short return from the left side to give Carterville the first set.
“I really felt it was my best game of the season,” Stuck said. “I showed up tonight and I was ready to play and truly showed what Carterville volleyball was all about.”
Carterville scored the first three points of the second, but Du Quoin rallied to keep it close with the help of three unforced errors by the Lady Lions to pull within two at 6-4.
However, Carterville got their second wind going on a 10-0 run highlighted by nine-straight points with Reese Brunken behind the service line.
“Reese came in and just nailed it tonight,” Emrick said. “I thought she served it really well and passed it really well. I thought she did a great job of being disciplined in her positioning on defense.”
Mavigliano led Carterville with eight kills followed by Lange with seven and half and Stuck with seven. Addie Wallace finished with two aces and Brunken with one.
Lauren Heape had three kills for the Lady Indians with Miller adding a kill to go with her two aces. Olivia Dill had to kills and Grace Alongi also had an ace.