NEW LONDON – It was tough sledding for the Keota girls’ volleyball team on Tuesday night. The Eagles were swept by No. 10 New London, falling 25-4, 25-8 and 25-5.
The Tigers overpowered the Eagles throughout the first set. New London grabbed the lead early and didn’t let up en route to a 21-point win.
“We weren’t prepared,” Keota head coach Teresa Miller said. “We saw a few things, but we weren’t our whole team tonight at all.”
The Eagles had two girls out, one with a hand injury and the setter was sick.
The second set was much closer, although it took the Eagles a while to get started. New London scored the first seven points, and 12 of the first 14 to take a 12-2 lead.
Keota (6-18) went back and forth with New London throughout the middle of the set, but could never get the deficit back to single digits. The lead was down to 11 points at 19-8, but the Tigers scored the final six points to take a 2-0 lead.
Keota stayed close early on in the third set. New London scored the first four points, but Keota rallied back for three of their own, the third on a kill by Brianna Duwa.
“Our passes weren’t on,” Miller said. “Our strongest player would have been Lauren Imhoff. She was talking, and she was moving her feet constantly.”
New London scored three of the next four points to take a 7-4 lead, but a block by Addison Swanson brought the score back to 7-5. It was all downhill from there for the Eagles, as New London closed the game out on a 20-0 run.
“I thought (we) came out super strong,” said New London head coach Maureen Heath after the win. “They were focused. They didn’t want to come out and make it a struggle. They wanted to be the dominant team from the beginning.”
Miller said the team wasn’t itself, especially with a couple of starters being absent due to injury and illness, but praised her team for improving throughout the year.
“In the beginning of the season, we couldn’t pass the ball,” Miller explained. “We couldn’t set the ball (and) we couldn’t hit the ball. In our district, we split into three and we won our quad. That was good for us. We looked good (then), but not tonight.”
New London moved on to play Winfield-Mt. Union in a regional semifinal on Thursday, Oct. 24. That game will be in New London. No. 7 Montezuma hosts Lynnville-Sully in the other regional semifinal.