After Saturday’s 3-0 loss to Visitation Academy, Rock Bridge volleyball’s fourth defeat in a row, the Bruins had seen enough.
On Wednesday night against Battle, the team let out its frustrations and cruised to a 25-20, 25-6 victory, blowing away the visiting Spartans in a lopsided second set.
“We really wanted to win, we wanted to end that losing streak,” Rock Bridge coach Nicole Murphy said. “Once we realized we won that first (set), we didn’t want that momentum to stop … I think we just really asserted this losing streak has got to stop in that second (set).”
With the victory, the Bruins (16-9-1) ensured a winning regular season for the first time since 2014, when the team reached the state semifinals. They secured Wednesday’s win while celebrating senior night for their lone graduating player, Kennedy Robbins.
“Kennedy has been like that senior leader,” Murphy said. “We only have one, so it’s a lot of responsibility lying on her … she’s a big player, has a great court presence, and she’s definitely going to be missed next year.”
Battle (10-16-2) trailed the entirety of each set, but the Spartans put up a fight in the first frame when they went on a 9-5 run to pull to 23-20. Despite the one-sided second set which saw Rock Bridge win 17 of the first 19 points, Battle coach Ashanti Williams-Caine took a positive approach to the outcome.
“The second set, the wheels fell off, and we couldn’t serve or receive at all,” Williams-Caine said. “Overall, I think it was a good showing for us. We’ve been kind of down, we’re picking up the pieces. Districts (are) rolling around, so I think we’re in a good spot.”
Jordan Butler and Megan Stewart led the Spartans’ starting lineup with four kills apiece, while Williams-Caine also noted the performance of sophomore Emma Spillman off the bench.
Murphy noted the play of Cassie Gray and Abby Frerking, whose defensive play helped the Bruins keep the ball off the ground and build attacks. Junior Kelly Barnes racked up kills to power Rock Bridge through the dominant second frame.
“We’ve been working on her spacing a lot,” Murphy said of Barnes. “She kept her spacing, and she probably was the kill leader tonight, which is something she started the season doing … I hope she can get back there because we really need her in the middle.”
For Robbins, who plans to continue playing volleyball at the junior college or NAIA level, earning a victory on her senior night served as a way to build momentum as the postseason approaches.
“The dynamic and the energy have changed, because the past couple of games have been a little bit rough for us,” she said. “Today was the day we kind of turned that around, and we hope we can continue that for the rest of the season.”
Rock Bridge will play its second match in as many days when it hosts Blair Oaks at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. Battle returns to action against Montgomery County at 6:30 p.m. Monday at home.