PROSPER – In their second district match of the 2017 season, the Prosper volleyball team hosted Newman Smith on Sept. 12. The Lady Eagles wasted no time Tuesday evening, defeating the Lady Trojans in three quick sets.
The Lady Eagles entered the match 26-5 overall and 1-0 in district play after defeating the Colony on Sept. 8. The Newman Smith Lady Trojans haven’t been as fortunate this season. With an 11-10 overall record, their district record sat at 0-1 after falling to McKinney North in three in their first district matchup.
Newman Smith opened the match at the serving line, but freshman Samantha Jacobs earned the first point of the night with a kill on the left side. Senior Taryn Weber followed Jacobs with an ace for point number two, and after a long and scrambled rally from both teams, Jacobs put away another kill. Prosper’s outside attack dominated as four of the five opening points came from the left side. The Lady Eagles then went on an eight-to-one run, with junior Kylie Mote anchoring at the service line. Smith finally broke their scoring drought after sending a back-row hit over the net for their second point of the night, but back-to-back kills from senior Hope Gramly and junior Ciera Hecht pushed the lead to 11-2, forcing the Lady Trojans to use a timeout. The Lady Trojan defense struggled with the powerful Prosper outside attack, and midway through the set, Smith’s libero had to be pulled. With the absence of senior Haley Killinger, Cierra Hecht stepped up and had a fantastic night all over the court. Her strong arm swing was unstoppable at any position, causing Smith trouble all night. This wasn’t a problem for the junior, however, as Hecht said that she is used to playing every position.
“I’ve always played six rotations all the way around, so I’ve just really gotten comfortable playing everywhere,” said Hecht. “Coach [Kauffman] has a lot of faith in me… Wherever she puts me, I know she’s putting me there for a reason.”
Because of their lack of defense, Smith was rarely able to produce a hit. As the set concluded, Prosper took a commanding 1-0 lead as the final score ended at 25-3.
Despite the first-set loss, Smith looked to bounce back in set two. Prosper Junior Kayla Martin kick-started the game with back-to-back aces at the line, but Smith fired away early with an explosive kill out of the middle. They hopped out to a 3-4 lead before the longest rally of the match ended in a Gramly kill off the slide. Prosper continued to push for points as the set continued, as Whitmire connected with both Hecht and junior Julia Kieffer to force another Newman Smith timeout. Junior Ryann Cobb came off the bench for the Lady Eagles and scored several big points to push the lead out to 18-9, including a tough thrown down at the net. Gramly also came alive in set two, as she posted back-to-back first-time slams out of the middle. Smith tried to push for a comeback, but Hecht’s powerful swing put away the set-winner at 25-14.
Set three was all Prosper.
The Lady Eagles jumped out to a 6-1 lead, with Mote again dominating with her serve. Smith earned a block to end the serving run, but Hecht brought ball back to the Lady Eagles with a kill down the line. Senior Chloe Hancock recorded her first slide kill of the evening, sending a hard cross-court shot through the legs of a Lady Trojan defensive specialist. Prosper’s attack continued to pound away at the Lady Trojan back line. Smith had difficultly returning any of Prosper’s kills, and the Lady Eagles refused to back down. Every player who touched the ball for Prosper seemed to score, and Smith’s poor defense couldn’t rebound from the 21-4 deficit. In the closing minutes of the set, junior setter Madi Whitmire, who recorded a season high 43 assists and two aces on the evening, led the Lady Eagles at the service line with 8 consecutive serves. Smith did go on a short three point run, but Weber’s right side attack ended the match as Prosper closed set three 25-6.
Despite the quick 3-0 sweep, Coach Erin Kauffman said she still wants to challenge the girls in each match.
“I give them tiny challenges… We’ve got to set small goals on our side, and worry about our side of the court,” she said. “If we’re worrying about [that], we’ll play a good game.”
Prosper’s offense was relentless for the entire match as they outscored Smith 75-23. Kauffman was able to send in several players off the bench, which has been a positive for her this season.
“When [the subs] come in, they have to do something… I just want them to have enough confidence to come in and not skip a beat.”
Ciera Hecht ended the night with 22 kills, while Kylie Mote recorded 17 digs and five aces and Kayla Martin added 14 digs and 2 aces.
The Lady Eagles will continue district play on Friday, Sept. 15. They will travel out to Carrollton Creekview High School to take on the Lady Mustangs at 5:30 p.m.