ANGOLA — For a set, Wednesday’s Northeast Corner Conference volleyball match between Angola and Central Noble looked like a battle of two conference powers. But a competitive first set gave way to a rout as the Hornets earned a three-set win over the visiting Cougars, 25-20, 25-11, 25-8.
The Cougars (10-2, 3-1 NECC) entered the match winners of 10 of their past 11 matches, and undefeated in league play, and it showed early on against the Hornets (10-1, 5-0), the heavyweights of the conference.
Not lacking for confidence, Central Noble kept the score within three points early in the first set before grabbing the lead, 12-11, midway through on a block by senior Katelyn Ayres.
Five different Cougars recorded a kill in the set, with junior Emma Marker and senior Sam Brumbaugh each tallying two, while Lydia Andrews and Ayres each scored on a block as well.
It was just the type of performance coach Laura Scott wanted to see from her team, contesting at the net against Angola’s powerful hitters, taking advantage of offensive opportunities and capitalizing on Hornet mistakes.
Though, it didn’t last.
Angola cruised through the final two sets, regularly winning five or more points in a row. Ashlyn Meyer, the team leader in kills, recorded five of her seven total kills in the second set, three of which came during the early portion when the Hornets jumped out to a 10-3 lead.
Sophomore Paige Powers notched a kill and two blocks, while, in the third set, junior Teagan Mattox totaled two kills, three aces and a block as part of an all-around performance that put Angola on top by as many as 12 points.
The Hornets continued to regroup after suffering their first loss of the season in a five-set heartbreaker at Concordia Monday. But three-set sweeps of Westview Tuesday and the Cougars, who sit third in the conference standings, cemented Angola’s place atop the league.
The Hornets will face a resurgent Lakeland team next, hosting the Lakers on Monday. Central Noble will take part in an invitational at Bethany Christian on Saturday.