Hickman almost got a little too comfortable with its lead Thursday night.
The Kewpies volleyball team defeated visiting Jefferson City 29-27, 25-14 and improved to 14-7-1.
After the Kewpies opened up a 21-16 lead in the first game, Jefferson City scored eight of the next nine points and put Hickman down 24-22 and facing game point.
“We got really comfortable with our lead and maybe underestimated them a little,” said senior defensive specialist Lindsey Fleming. “We thought ‘Maybe this is how the rest of the game is going to go.’ ’’
The Kewpies quickly regained composure and the lead, 25-24, after seniors Melody Mallicoat and Kendra Williams each delivered one of their team-high eight kills.
A persistent Jefferson City team scored the next point and took the lead 26-25 when a Williams’ spike landed just outside the backline.
“At that point, we knew we had to hang on and not give up or lose focus,” Fleming said.
The Kewpies scored three of the next four points, including a crucial block and kill by junior Jenny Keener that put the Kewpies up for good.
Keener said she fed off the intensity of both Kewpies and Jays fans in the crowd.
“I was like ‘I don’t like this, Jeff City is way too loud.’ So we played harder to get our side as loud as their side because it is our house,” she said.
Keener said the momentum of the emotional victory in the first game translated into the second game and was a factor in the Kewpies quick 7-1 lead. Unlike the first game, the Kewpies would not give up their lead.
“In the second game we had really strong serves,” Keener said. “They had trouble serve receiving them, and I think momentum definitely had a lot to do with that.”
Coach Greg Gunn said the Kewpies’ more consistent serving in the second game was attributed to the team’s uninhibited style of play.
“I think they were a little tight in the first game because it had been a long time since we had a match,” he said. “In the second game they had seven aces and were enjoying themselves.”
Gunn said he was pleased with the team’s ability to adapt to the absence of junior outside hitter Jessie Kemble, who did not play to an ankle sprain.
“We had to change up the rotation a little bit, but they adjusted pretty well,” he said.
Kenner’s two blocks led the Kewpies while defensive specialist Bess Frissell led the team with five digs.