Eagles ease past Blue Devils, 3-1

LISBON – The United volleyball team had a stronghold on the Blue Devils Tuesday, and the Eagles made sure not to let go.

Showing signs of improvement from previous games, United traveled to Lisbon to take on the rival Blue Devils, winning in close fashion, 25-20, 25-20, 19-25, 25-17.

“I thought we played well,” United coach Troy Brunner said. “We played better on defense than we have been recently.”

United maintained the lead throughout the game, with several six-point leads throughout the first half. Lisbon would cut into those leads many times throughout the night though, closing the gap to a one-point game.

MacKenzie Firth, who led the Eagles with 36 assists, attributed it to better work and remaining positive.

“We are serving better than we have been,” Firth said. “We had a really good defense, swung hard on defense. We’re just staying positive on the floor.”

Game three, however, was a different matter. Lisbon managed to gain focus, tiring United, and take over the game which saw six lead changes. Ultimately, Lisbon would get a six-point victory. The momentum seemed to head towards Lisbon.

“The third game set us back a little bit,” Brunner said. “It was a little tough there.”

Any momentum and focus, however, would be gone by the fourth game. Regrouping and setting aside the game three disappointment, United opened up in a big way, catching Lisbon off guard. United even led by as much as 10 points on two different occasions during the game, leading 14-4, and then 15-5 before getting the victory in game four, 25-17, giving United another win.

Along with Firth, Claudia Rockhold also led the Eagles with 15 kills.

Anna Sanor and Taylor Siefke led the way for the Blue Devils. Sanor had 12 assists and five digs, while Siefke had nine kills and four blocks. Lisbon coach Cara Nyardy is looking to move on from this close loss.

“We definitely could’ve played better,” Nyardy said. “We have a young team, many young players. United has a good team.”

Despite a close game, Siefke showed disappointment, noting a need for more focus.

“We didn’t play to our potential,” Siefke said. “We lost focus. We needed to regroup and start over.”

The Blue Devils’ fourth-game breakdown, and double-digit deficit proved a sore spot for them.

“We shouldn’t have given them that lead at all,” Siefke said. “If it wasn’t for that, we would’ve had a better chance of winning.”

On the junior varsity end, United would sweep Lisbon, 25-16, 25-21.

Shelby Mix led the Eagles with six kills and seven digs, while Kassie Chestnut also had eight kills.

Emily Steves led the Blue Devils with four kills, five digs, and two aces.

United returns home Thursday to take on East Palestine.