The London volleyball team is out to enact some revenge this season.
At least that seems to be the case here early in the 2014 season as the senior-laden Red Raiders squad is taking aim at some programs that have caused them some grief in recent years.
On Tuesday, Aug. 26, the victim was Madison County neighbor Shekinah Christian, as the two hooked up for a non-league tilt at London.
Playing with a confidence and swagger seldom seen in recent years, London wasted no time and very little effort in beating the visiting Flames in three straight games 25-12, 25-17, 25-18. It marked the first time this current group of London players have ever beaten their neighbor to the North.
“It’s Shekinah and I respect the heck out of them,” London coach Darrel Eades said. “They’re down a little bit this year, but those kids are game. It was a good win for our seniors because they had never beaten them before.”
The coach said he and his older players have talked about some of the team’s that have gotten the best of his squads in recent years and how this would be a good time to even things out a bit.
“It started last week with Court House,” he said. “They’re an awesome team and last week was the first time these kids have ever beaten Washington Court House. It’s big for these seniors, you can just feel their enthusiasm in the locker room, we’ve talked about avenging losses we had last year and we’ve already avenged two. I’m real proud of them and how they’ve played.”
In the victory over the Flames, London got strong individual performances from the likes of senior big hitters Lauren Miller and Mackenzie Long. The match was also a coming-out party for freshman Addison Conley who routinely found herself in the middle of the action.
The Raiders barely broke a sweat in winning the first two games, but the third game the team encountered some difficulties that needed attention.
Shekinah took it’s first lead of the entire match in the third game when it went ahead 8-7. The lead increased to 11-8 when Eades called a timeout to settle his bunch. He said he gave some instruction and his team answered in a big way.
London scored the next 10 points, including nine straight off the service game of senior Madison Ripley.
“For the most part in the first two (games) I thought we were efficient in what we were doing,” Eades said. “You know we’re still growing. It’s a veteran group, but we’re still growing and still learning each other. In that third game I think we were a little lackadaisical, but we righted the ship and kept it going.”
It should come as no surprise that it was the team’s collection of juniors and seniors that stepped up when things weren’t going so smoothly.
“This starts with our older kids and they needed to take control and get everybody back into the flow of the game and what we’re supposed to be doing,” the coach said. “They were able to do that and I’m proud of them. We’ve still got a way to go, but we’re coming along.”
For the Flames, it was a struggle to string together consecutive points. Some of that was the defense played by the Raiders, but a lot of it was the fact that they just seemed to be out of sync. A sure sign of a young team learning to play with each other.”
Chris Miles can be reached at (740) 852-1616, ext. 1618 via Twitter @MadPressSports.