“Two hundred wins is
a program milestone more than
a personal milestone.”
Rob Terrill, Highland Volleyball Coach
CENTERBURG — In the past eight years, the Highland High School volleyball team (12-1, 9-0 KMAC) rarely, if ever, has a let down. That kind of consistency and focus has been a key to success for Scots’ coach Rob Terrill and the Highland program.
Tuesday’s victory was a sweet one for Terrill. His Scots rolled into Centerburg High School Tuesday evening and tore through the Trojans in their Knox-Morrow Athletic Conference match, sweeping them, 25-8, 25-7, 25-5. The win notched Terrill his 200th career victory as coach.
“We came out really focused, tonight,” Terrill said. “This group has really responded well. We don’t take anything for granted. Centerburg has scored 21 or 23 with teams. I know they can click it in gear and we don’t want to be in the way when that happens.”
Centerburg High School recognized Terrill, after the match, to the applause of the crowd, including his players.
Highland allowed the Trojans few serving opportunities and kept them from putting any runs together. The Scots got right down to business putting up a 16-4 lead and cruising for a first set win.
In the second set, with Highland freshman Ashlynn Belcher and Oder serving, the Scots jumped out to a 7-1 advantage. Oder had a couple of aces and Belcher and junior Raina Terry had kills for the Scots. Terry would get two more kills off of Belcher assists, helping the Scots to skate to a win in the second set.
“It’s fun, getting to know the freshmen like Ashlynn and making them part of the team,” Oder said. “We work on making them comfortable, so they’re not nervous. We try to make our whole team a family.”
In the third set, it was sophomore Makenna Belcher’s serving that helped the Scots to get out to a 6-1 lead. Highland’s senior setter Kacie O’Leary fed sophomore Abby Eusey and freshman Kendall Stover, each with a pair of assists. Highland junior Gena West scored on a block and teammate Kelsee Bargnesi aced a serve to raise the score to 14-2. Makenna Belcher would, later, score twice off Bargnesi assists, putting the Scots comfortably on top, 18-5.
Centerburg coach Sally Simpson came into the game missing a couple of key players — Abbie Miller, who is out for the year and Noa Sesma, who is day-to-day with an injured back. Sesma may be back in a week or two.
“We have to figure out, who we put in the middle and we have nobody left,” Simpson said. “Nobody wants to be in that situation. I admire my girls for their dignity and their perseverance. Highland is a great team. Rob has done a great job and they deserve everything that they get.”
Hallie Moreland had 11 assists and four digs for Centerburg. Teammate Brooklyn Marshall had 10 digs. Taylor Scowden had seven digs and Natalie Coffing had four digs for the Trojans (7-10. 2-7 KMAC).
Terrill gives credit to a program-wide effort that has made the Scots one of the top volleyball programs in the region, year-after-year.
“I’ve been very fortunate to work with a lot of good volleyball coaches,” Terrill said. “When I was asked to take over at Highland eight years ago, I thought I was only going to do it for a year to kind of get us by, but they wanted me to stay with it. I’m so proud of these girls. Before I started, the best record we had was 22-1. Here, in the last six years, we have averaged 25 wins a year. When you sustain something like that, that’s more than one group of kids going through. We’ve pushed our program down to the elementary level with 140 kids in our camp in the summer. That says a lot about the coaches, kids and parents. Two hundred wins is a program milestone, more than a personal milestone.”
Both teams are back in KMAC action Thursday at 7 p.m. Centerburg will visit East Knox and Highland goes to Mount Gilead.