SPARTA — The Buckeye Valley Barons were invited guests to a party hosted by the Highland Scots on Thursday.
The Scots had plenty of reasons to party.
Highland defeated Buckeye Valley in straight sets, 25-16, 25-14, 25-20, to complete a perfect 22-0 regular season.
In the process, Highland junior Kam Terry became the first player in school history to collect her 1,000th kill.
“Our first goal was to win the league, and we did that last week,” said Highland head coach Rob Terrill.
“Then, we thought we could go 36-0 in sets in the conference.”
“Then, after we went 20-0, then 21-0, we thought this was a real possibility, and the girls went for it.”
The volleyball team is the first in Highland history to be ranked No. 1 in the state. Since attaining that mark nearly a month ago, the Scots haven’t let that go to their heads. Quite the contrary.
“We use it to fuel us,” said Terry. “We’re not conceited by any means. It means we have to keep working hard to prove that we deserve that, and not let anyone take it away from us.”
“This is a very focused team,” said Terrill. “When we talk about goals, they’re quiet and really focused. That’s good, because they can be giddy sometimes. They can have too much fun.”
On the third point of the match, Terry took a shot from a Buckeye Valley player and redirected it back over the net to the floor. The kill — her second of the match — was the landmark kill.
She had already beaten the Highland career mark in kills earlier this season with No. 853. That one came on the road. This time, she was able to celebrate in front of her home fans.
“Honestly, I owe all of that to my team, because a hitter can’t get kills without passes and sets,” said Terry. “It’s really great, knowing that we’ve got that kind of team.”
She finished with a team-high 19 kills, putting her career mark at 1,017.
Remember, she’s a junior.
Terrill stopped the match when the kill took place. He announced the landmark over the PA, to which the crowd responded with one of the loudest, longest cheers in the gym’s young history.
“I got to coach Kam all three years here, and when she was a little kid,” said Terrill. “It’s exciting to see her accomplish this.”
Buckeye Valley (11-8) isn’t exactly a pushover. The Barons feature the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference leaders in assists (Brooke Dubikin, 684), serve percentage (Amy Stought, .989) and kills (Meghan Ulmer, 365). Another player, Laura Lemanski, is third in the MOAC in digs.
But on Thursday, the Barons may as well have been called the Washington Generals, because they were playing volleyball’s version of the Harlem Globetrotters.
“This team is absolutely spectacular,” said Terry. “Of all the teams I’ve ever been on — in club, high school or middle school — this team is the best. We all get along so well. You seriously can’t ask for anything more.”
The 22nd win ties for the most by any Highland volleyball team, along with the 1977 Scots who went 22-1. That team was the first — and so far, the only — Highland volleyball team to claim a district title.
The players like their chances of repeating such a feat.
“Honestly, I think we can make it to state. I believe in us that much,” said Terry.
Highland had a pair of 6-1 runs to put the first set away early. Terry had two aces in one run, while Ashton Terrill and Megan Oder collected solo blocks in the other.
A pair of Brogin Denman kills late helped ice away Set 1.
Highland held a narrow 5-4 lead in the second set before another Terry kill sparked a 9-1 run. The run featured two service aces by Lexi Winkelfoos.
The third set was more tightly contested, with the Barons scoring the first four points then keeping the set close. Denman took over at that point, scoring four of her nine kills while collecting an ace.
Symbolic of the way Highland’s season has gone, the Scots won a late point with a combination of talent and desire. Two kill attempts by Buckeye Valley yielded digs by Denman and Marlese Ferguson, with Terrill diving to save an errant pass and Winkelfoos knocking the ball over the net with the back of her fist. The Scots won the point on a net violation by the Barons.
NOTES: Terrill finished with five kills and a team-high 12 digs. ... Denman and Winkelfoos also had solo blocks. ... Winkelfoos led the Scots with 18 assists. Carley Gahm had 16. ... Highland’s first tournament game will be Wednesday at home against Mount Gilead. A win would advance the Scots to a home game on Saturday. ... Highland volleyball is the first team to go unbeaten in the News area since Fredericktown football in 2010.
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