NEW MATAMORAS — Morgan Haught had a match-high 11 kills, Kara Ramsey added five more downed spikes and Rebecca Bennett served for a trio of aces as host Frontier swept Paden City 25-9, 25-11 and 25-18 here Saturday morning.
The 12-5 Cougars of head coach Donna Murphy, who also received two aces from libero Ella Mendenhall as well as a combined 20 assists from Bennett and Haught, finished a long week with a 5-1 mark as they look to secure an Ohio Valley Athletic Conference 1A tournament spot.
“We’re working toward our postseason,” admitted coach Murphy, who plugged in several junior varsity members in the third set. “I was very pleased with their energy and the way they played.”
Rayna Smith opened the match with a kill via a Carlee Sweeney assist, but that was the only lead in the opening set for the Wildcats of head coach Penny Baker. Consecutive kills by Haught put the Cougars ahead for good and the lead ballooned to 23-7 following a Bennett ace.
Paden City, which dropped to 8-12 and plays Monday at Cameron, started set two with an attack error and never led. McKenzie Thomas, who had a team-high five downed spikes, put one to the floor via an Isabella Snider assist to keep it close at 6-3. Frontier pushed ahead 13-7 thanks to a service tally from Gracie Mendenhall and the lead was 17-10 after Anna Bowersock assisted on a Brooklyn Dunn kill as the Cougars rolled to victory.
Frontier, which returns to action Monday at Valley (Wetzel) before holding senior night Thursday versus River, opened set three with a Ramsay kill and never trailed. Haught had a left-handed kill to make it 5-2 and the cushion increased to 15-7 after an ace by Savannah Offenberger. The Wildcats still trailed by eight at 19-11 following a Smith kill and a Grace Greeme ace.
Maddie Smith then assisted on a Haught kill for a 20-11 bulge. A kill from Haley Walton closed the Wildcat deficit to seven at 20-13, but Kelsey Dye’s downed spike got the Cougars to match point. Despite staving off four attempted match points PCHS saw its record drop to 8-12.
“She’s OK. She’ll be fine,” coach Baker said of Mallory Dennis, who left with an ankle injury in the first set. “We’re just one step away from where we need to be unfortunately. They will get it.
“We are getting better and we are getting there. We just got to work as a team and we haven’t found our niche yet. We have good spots and we have bad spots. We just need to get rid of the bad spots.”
The Cougars entered the week in the fourth and final position for the OVAC 1A tournament.
“It’s a good group of girls,” coach Murphy said of her squad. “They’ve gotten stronger as the year has gone. We’ve got a good leader in Kara Ramsey.
“She’s our only senior this year and a four-year letterman, but the others have stepped up too. Out there on the floor, though, they are getting a lot better as a unit.”
Contact Jay Bennett at firstname.lastname@example.org.