NEW MARKET — Southmont was the host site for the Class 2A Sectional 44 opener on Tuesday as the host Mounties took on the South Putnam Eagles in the opening round. The host school came out on fire taking the first set 25-14 and let the Eagles know they meant business. The Mounties would give the Eagles everything they had, but ultimately fell short and saw their season come to end in a four-set defeat 14-25, 25-22, 25-17, 25-20.
“We were fired up to come out and play and we did that in the first set,” Southmont co-head coach Casey Phillips said. “We came out and had the most kills that we’ve had the entire season in the first two sets.”
“They came out focused from the very beginning and executed the game plan very well,” fellow co-coach Erin Barry added.
Taylor Anderson led the way on defense for the Mounties with 29 digs, while Elizabeth Conkright added 17 in her final game in a Mountie uniform. Mallory Mason had 14 assists, while Conkright ended with nine. Chelsea Veatch led the way in kills for the Mounties as she ended with nine. Regan Remley and Makia Pierce both added seven each.
With the win South Putnam moves on to the sectional semi-finals on Saturday to take on Riverton Parke. Eagles coach Ellen Cash knows to move on in the tournament they’ll have to clean up a few things.
“I think they came out with a mindset to beat us as they should have,” Cash said. “We finally started to wake up late in that first set, but it was a little too late. I told them after we dropped that first set to just wipe the slate clean and that we were going to win the next three. Our seniors did a great to job of showing leadership after that opening set. They took hold of the game and pushed us forward to the win.”
The Mounties and Eagles continued to trade blows in the second set, but the Eagles were able to hold on and win. Despite seeing their season come to an end, both Phillips and Barry had nothing but positives to talk about.
“They never gave up at all and pushed through until the end,” Barry said. “They started to do things that we’ve been wanting them to do and that’s the most important thing. To finish this way is a great momentum builder as we look forward to next season.
“We’re going to be brining everybody but Liz (Conkright) back, so this group will be ready to go next year.”
Conkright saw her first varsity action of her career this season. That didn’t stop her from being a great leader and also help Barry and Phillips along the way.
“She was the person to bring the girls together when they were down,” Barry said. “She always had a positive attitude no matter the situation.”
Southmont will ends the season with a 3-18 record, but both Barry and Phillips aren’t letting that define what this season ended up becoming.
“We’ve been telling them all season that as long as they are playing their best volleyball at the end of the season, that’s all that matters,” Phillips said. “I think they accomplished that tonight.” The Mounties lost some key players over the last two years and this team had big shoes to fill.
“At the beginning of the season I think they were struggling to find somebody to lead, and tonight I think that it showed that they all came together,” Phillips said. “Sometimes it takes everyone to step up.”