Hamilton takes it in straight sets

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VINTON — The third set got a bit rocky, but Hamilton Christian settled down to sweep host Vinton 25-18, 25-22 and 25-16 on Tuesday.

Hamilton improved to 6-2, its best start in recent years, and has swept in five of its six wins despite losing five seniors from last year’s squad.

“The dynamics (have improve) — ball control, passing, attacking the middle and serve receive,” said HCA coach Sylvia Gibbs. “They are more consistent getting the ball to the target. When we are out of the system, they are able to still play the ball and make a play instead of just trying to save it.

“We are picking up more balls in the middle.”

Vinton built a four-point lead twice in the third set. Joenid Vasquez served an ace for a 9-5 lead and a Hamilton hitting error put the Lions up 14-10. But the Lions struggled with double hits all match, committing nine.

“That biggest thing that hurt us was that double hit,” Vinton head coach Myra Perry said. “I only have on setter, she is a junior, and all the rest are freshmen.

“We are trying teach them. The double hits just kind of deflated us.”

Junior middle hitter Denea Carter stopped the slide for the Warriors with four consecutive kills for a 15-14 lead and finished with a match-high 10. She also had two blocks.

“She (Carter) has improved tremendously,” Gibbs said. “This is her third year. She has improved on her hitting consistency and timing when attacking the ball.”

Once the Warriors settled down, they went on a 9-0 run to finish the match.

“They just needed to do what they know to do,” Gibbs said. “We were just not executing to keep the ball in front of them and make a play.

“Once they settled down and did that, they were able to get in a rhythm and good things happened.”

Vinton fell behind 11-6 in the first set before Jaden Todd’s back-to-back aces cut the deficit to 12-10, but Carter got two kills to stop the Lions rally and Macey Guillory added two aces.

Vinton led 21-20 late in the second set, but Dai’Vionna Smith’s two kills helped the Warriors ice the set.

Despite the 0-5 start, Perry said she is seeing improvement in the Lions, who’s starting lineup is all underclassmen.

“They played a whole lot better tonight than they did during the (Westlake) tournament,” Perry said. “I think a lot of that was nerves for the young ones. They were not communicating. They just have to get their grove where they feel more like a team.”

Junior Bailey Bujard led Vinton with four blocks and four kills.

Hamilton 3 , Vinton 0

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