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Volleyball: Alma unable to grab momentum

Heritage volleyball coach Sarah Miser wasn’t in any hurry to make a video copy of Monday’s season-opening 20-25, 25-22, 25-19, 20-25, 15-8 victory at Alma.

But wasn’t about to give the recording back, either.

Heritage sophomore outside hitter Elleson Dunagin had 13 kills, 23 digs and four aces to pace the Lady War Eagles. Junior Aubrey Bailey led Alma (0-1) with 10 kills and three digs.

“We made a lot of unforced errors and it really was ugly, ugly volleyball,” Miser said. “I’m glad we pushed through, but I thought collectively we could have played much better than that.”

After Alma charged back to force a fifth set, Heritage took control from the start. Gabby Uhrig’s ace and a kill by Madison Hotelling sparked an 8-2 run. The Airedalettes pulled to three at 9-6 but could never swing the momentum the way they did in the first and fourth games.

“I give Alma a lot of credit; they’re really scrappy,” Miser said. “They frustrated a lot of my hitters into making hitting mistakes, so you have to give (Alma) a lot of credit.”

Alma volleyball coach Tiffaney Drinkwitz said lack of experience played into the loss.

“I feel like we’re starting over a little bit, just because we don’t have a lot of girls with varsity experience,” Drinkwitz said. “We’re going to continue to get better better and better.”

Heritage built a 13-8 lead in the opener, but the Airedalettes began to chip away. Taylor Short’s save helped the Airedalettes take an 18-17 lead. Then a hitting error by Heritage’s Connor McNulty and Taylor Thornbrugh’s block gave Alma a 21-18 lead that proved insurmountable for the Lady War Eagles.

Heritage didn’t falter in the second game, though, by building a 10-3 lead and coasting to a 25-22 victory. Alma contributed to the win with a series of errors.

“There were several errors — passing errors, communication errors,” Drinkwitz said. “We’ll continue to get better and better.”

After losing the third set, Alma recharged its batteries and played well in the fourth game. Even after a kill by Heritage’s Emily Kurtz pulled the Lady War Eagles to within two at 19-17, Alma went right back to work and extended the lead to 24-19.

McNulty finished with 10 kills for the Lady War Eagles.

Shelby Harness added six kills for Alma. Teammate Hailey Ostrander had 48 digs and Short finished with 14 digs and five kills.

High School Volleyball

Nonconference

Heritage def. Alma 20-25, 25-22, 25-19, 20-25, 15-8

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