Excuse the James Buchanan Lady Rocket volleyball team if it doesn’t know that it shouldn’t be doing this well.
The underclassman loaded Lady Rockets reeled off their fifth straight victory Wednesday night with a straight-set 3-0 win over Big Spring.
Set scores were 26-24, 25-18 and 25-14.
The win, it’s 10th in the last 12 matches, moved JB’s record to 12-4.
Despite just one upperclassman, junior Lydia Jones, in the starting the lineup the Lady Rockets continue to find ways to win with a rejuvenated youth movement. The other starters are sophomores Rylynn Welsh, Carly Sollenberger and Brinn Seville and freshmen Mackenzie Stoner and Campbelle Dayley.
“These girls don’t talk about our record or about going to districts,” JB coach Erica Piper said. “They may play a little nervous at times, but for the most part they thrive off pressure. They have just been taking things match by match.”
Some of those nerves showed a little bit in the first set as Big Spring got out to a 6-3 lead, but Sollenberger quickly erased that deficit by reeling off 6 straight points, 2 of which came off kills by Stoner.
“I think we may have been a little nervous playing in front of nice, big crowd,” said Welsh, who finished with a team-high 15 digs and 12 kills. “But we came together as one team and kept it going.”
The Lady Rockets got its largest lead, 14-9, on a little dink by Jones, but some hitting miscues and a couple aces by Big Spring got it right back in the set, tying it at 14-14.
“We have to pass well to play well,” Piper said. “If we can get that first pass we’re OK. We’ve really been stressing that.”
The first set remained back-and-forth, as there were 7 lead changes and 6 ties, until JB got a sideout to take a 25-24 lead and Welsh ended the first set with a down-the-line smash.
“Rylynn has really been stepping up for us,” Piper said. “She wants and calls for the ball. Mackenzie has also been placing the ball very well.”
In the second set, Big Spring again darted out to a lead (4-1), but after a sideout, Dayley reeled off 4 straight points, 2 coming off Stoner kills, to give JB the lead for good. Dayley also served the final 4 points to close out the second set.
“Once we got that first set out of the way we definitely played more confident and loose,” Welsh said.
JB took control early of the third set and closed the match out quickly. The Lady Rockets got a sideout to start the set and then Welsh promptly ran off 7 straight points, including 3 aces, to open an 8-0 lead. Big Spring never got closer than 6 points the rest of the set.
“We had a pretty big crowd tonight and the girls don’t normally get that which I think why they may have been a little nervous,” Piper said. “But once we won the first set the girls settled in and got comfortable.”
NOTES: Other stat leaders for JB were: Dayley (15 digs, 12 points, 7 kills, 2 blocks) and Sollenberger (25 assists) … The Lady Rockets final 4 regular-season matches are: Oct. 10 at Steel-High; Oct. 14 at home vs. Harrisburg; Oct. 16 at home vs. Northern; Oct. 17 at Shippensburg … JB is currently No. 9 in the District 3 Class AAA power rankings.