By TOMMY REZAC
St. Joseph Post
Bishop LeBlond (2-0) controlled the pace late in the first set, came from behind to win the second and straight up dominated the third set in a 3-0 (25-19, 25-29, 25-8) win over Mid-Buchanan at Grace Gymnasium Tuesday.
The first set was back and forth with three ties and three lead changes early, but LeBlond opened up a 24-16 lead in the first set before eventually winning it 25-19.
Senior Kianna Herrera went to work early with five kills in the opening frame.
The second set started much like the first - both teams going toe-to-toe. After five ties early, Mid-Buchanan (3-3) opened up a 15-10 lead, prompting the first and only timeout of the night from LeBlond coach Kimberly Huss, who doesn't always love calling timeouts when her team is trying to figure out a problem, especially early in the season.
"Because I think kids need to learn how to respond if you don't have any timeouts left," Huss said. "So, sometimes I go ahead this early in the season and I let them gain a couple of points and see how our kids will respond."
With the score tied at 16-16, LeBlond ended the second set on a 9-3 run to win it 25-19. The run was fueled in part by three consecutive ace serves from sophomore Leah Frazee and three kills from junior Paige Perry.
Herrera and junior Sadie Ward each led the Eagles with nine kills, while Perry had six total.
"We're just trying to spread the wealth and get everybody involved so that we can build some confidence and continue to grow as a team," Huss said.
The third set was rarely in doubt. LeBlond opened up a 12-6 lead to start. Mid-Buchanan called timeout, but the Eagles reeled off a 12-1 run to force match point and eventually close the set at 25-8 and complete the sweep.
"One of the things we're trying to accomplish every single time we take the court is an amount of focus that it takes to finish a match and finish one set in that match," Huss said. "We talked about it in between games that we really wanted to use that in the third set to finish strong and not let them back in it."
Mid-Buchanan was led by senior Khania Clark, who logged nine kills. Junior Hailey Clark had eight, while junior Mallie Lieffring had six.
LeBlond is off for over a week and will welcome defending Class 3 state champion Maryville to their home floor on September 9.
With a long weekend coming up, Huss is hopeful her team will be well rested and focused by the time the next match comes around.
"It is good in this early part of the season around the holiday to get some rest and we'll come back and play next Thursday," Huss said. "Then, come back to a couple of tournaments in a row. So, we've got to have fresh legs and be ready to go into those tournaments at the end of September."
LeBlond will take part in the Chillicothe tournament Sept. 20-30 and then the LeBlond tournament in early October.
Mid-Buchanan is back in St. Joseph to visit Lafayette on September 7.
You can follow Tommy on Twitter @TommyKFEQ and St. Joseph Post @StJosephPost.