Baylor Rallies To Beat Stubborn East Hamilton

Craig, Rogers, Redman Lead Lady Red Raiders To 3-1 Win In Season Opener

Tuesday, August 14, 2018 - by John Hunt
East Hamilton's Hillary English dives attempting a save on an errant ball Tuesday evening in a match against defending Division II-AA state champion Baylor on the Lady 'Canes' home floor. Despite English's hustle, the Lady Red Raiders defeated East Hamilton, 3-1. Also pictured are Madison Allen (12) and Sidney Batten (10) of the Lady "Canes, Sarah Barker (1) and  Denver Rogers (14) of Baylor.
East Hamilton's Hillary English dives attempting a save on an errant ball Tuesday evening in a match against defending Division II-AA state champion Baylor on the Lady 'Canes' home floor. Despite English's hustle, the Lady Red Raiders defeated East Hamilton, 3-1. Also pictured are Madison Allen (12) and Sidney Batten (10) of the Lady "Canes, Sarah Barker (1) and Denver Rogers (14) of Baylor.
- photo by Dennis Norwood

There’s nothing quite like playing one of the best volleyball teams in the state to open the 2018 season, but that’s exactly what the East Hamilton Lady Hurricanes did at home Tuesday evening.

Facing the defending Division II state champion Baylor Lady Red Raiders, the Lady Canes didn’t seem to be the least bit intimidated by Baylor and even grabbed early momentum by winning the first set by a score of 25-23.

The Lady Canes played really well the rest of the way, but Baylor came back to win the final three sets and the match.  Set scores were 25-17, 25-17 and 25-22.

There have been seasons where Baylor went more than a month without losing a match or even a set, but that wasn’t the case for the newest season.  Losing that first set didn’t seem to bother Baylor coach Sarah Lail.

“We couldn’t pass in that first set and if we can’t get the ball to our hitters up front, we struggle.  They got a nice lead in that first set, but I liked the way we came back.  It’s good to know we can come from behind in tough situations like that, but what a great way to start the new season,” Lail said following a quick discussion with her girls.

“We have some new faces in new positions this year and it took us a little while to find our rhythm, but once we got in a groove, our offense was able to open up.  I liked the fact that we had consistent energy as our goal was to win every point, but a match like this can only help us get ready for the big tournament we’re playing in this weekend in Knoxville,” she added.

The event she’s referring to is the Sunsphere Invitational that will be played at the Knoxville Convention Center against some really good competition.  The Lady Red Raiders are the defending champions in that event.

But on a day where Bojana Hyatt was enjoying her first day of competition as the Lady Hurricane head coach, her team played with a lot of fire and determination.  But as is always the case at the start of the season, she liked what she saw overall, but was quick to say there’s still a bunch of work to be done.

“That first set was phenomenal as we really executed and played with a lot of heart,” she began her post-match comments.

“We still have a lot of things to work on, but we were able to stay in the match after winning that first set.  We need to adjust the location of some of our hits, but I liked what I saw today.  We did a lot of things right and have a chance to be a pretty good team before all is said and done,” she added.

A kill from Denver Rogers to open the match gave Baylor a 1-0 lead, but a kill from Hillary English and then six straight service points from her allowed the Lady Canes to build a quick 7-1 lead.

Baylor finally regained the lead again at 19-18 on a kill from Ally Craig.  A block from Craig a minute later extended Baylor’s lead to 21-19 before East Hamilton rallied to win the set, a kill from English providing the winning point.

The Lady Red Raiders then took charge in the second set by scoring six of the first eight points, but the Lady Canes didn’t flinch as they battled back to within 9-8 on a block from English.

Two hitting errors by Baylor allowed East Hamilton to knot the score at 10-10 before Elizabeth Case reeled off four straight service points to give the visitors a 15-10 lead.

A kill by English got the Lady Canes within two at 16-14, but it never got any closer as four service points from Elaine Redman, including two of her four aces, gave Baylor a comfortable lead before Craig’s kill gave the Lady Red Raiders the win and evened the match at 1-1.

Baylor scored the first three points of the third set and never trailed.  East Hamilton got within two points twice, the latest at 12-10, but Baylor took advantage of five East Hamilton service errors to pull away for the win.

The fourth set was about as close as the first one as Baylor again took control with the first four points.

The Lady Canes hung around and refused to surrender as they led on four different occasions, the last at 21-20 on a kill by Raine Phillips.

Two kills by Sarah Barker late gave Baylor a little breathing room before Rogers finished off the match with her fifth ace.

Craig finished with 14 kills and seven digs to lead the winning effort while Rogers had 10 kills, seven digs and five aces.  Redman had an outstanding match as well, finishing with 30 assists, eight digs and four aces. Hayden Barton added 22 digs for the winners.

Hayes finished with 11 kills and 12 digs to pace East Hamilton while English had five kills, five digs and four blocks.  Kayla Ford had 14 digs while McKenna Hayes was impressive with seven kills.

While Baylor’s next action will be on Friday in Knoxville, East Hamilton will travel to Cleveland on Wednesday to face Bradley.

BAYLOR STATS:

Sarah Barker – 5 kills, 2 blocks

Hayden Barton – 2 aces, 22 digs

Elizabeth Case – 3 aces, 1 kill, 1 block, 7 digs

Ally Craig – 2 aces, 14 kills, 2 blocks, 7 digs

Julia Hartman – 3 digs

Sierra Herndon – 7 kills, 4 blocks

Elaine Redman – 4 aces, 1 kill, 30 assists, 8 digs

Denver Rogers – 5 aces, 10 kills, 1 block, 7 digs

Emoree Rogers – 2 aces, 2 digs

Maddy Tindall – 3 assists.

EAST HAMILTON STATS:

Emma Mitchell – 1 kill, 1 dig

Sidney Batten – 7 digs

Raine Phillips – 5 kills, 1 dig, 2 blocks

Jala Price – 11 digs

Kayla Ford – 14 digs

Hillary English – 5 kills, 5 digs, 4 blocks

Madison Hayes – 11 kills, 12 digs, 1 block

Madison Allen – 2 kills

McKenna Hayes – 7 kills, 2 digs, 1 block

Kristina Michalkova – 2 kills, 1 dig, 1 block.

(email John Hunt at nomarathonmoose@gmail.com)



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