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Tigers sweep Pilots to remain unbeaten

HANNIBAL — River jumped out to a 6-2 lead in its prep volleyball tilt against Shadyside on Monday night, prompting Lady Tigers head coach Eric Mercer to call time.

Shadyside never looked back.

The Lady Tigers soon tied the opening set at 8-8, then finished it off with nine straight points en route to a 25-13, 25-13, 25-13 triumph in remaining unbeaten.

“River came out with a lot of energy to start the match and we were a little bit flat,” Mercer noted after Shadyside moved to 12-0 inside the R.L. Potts Gymnasium.

“We came back and pulled it together and won the set. That energy carried through the next two.

“The girls played really well. I’m really proud of them.”

Madison Davis registered 17 assists and Caroline Mercer had seven digs for Shadyside, which looked a step ahead of the youthful Pilots (7-9) all night.

“We lost four seniors (from 2018), so we knew this would be a challenging season,” River head coach Judi Curtis said. “We have talent, but they’re still learning how to use it.”

River, led by six points from Emily Taylor and Lacey Cordery, showed flashes in each set, but Shadyside always had an answer for any Pilot surge.

“I think our defense is where it all starts,” Coach Mercer pointed out. “And, our passing has been really, really solid. We’re passing the ball really well and we’re really able to run the offense that we want to run.

“The girls are making smart swings, and when they don’t have a swing to make, they’re making good decisions with the ball.”

After falling behind 9-1 top open Set 2, River, which also received eight digs and six assists from Allison Bennett, closed the gap to 15-10. But Shadyside scored four of the next five points to move ahead 19-11 taking command.

A set later, the teams battled to an 8-8 deadlock early before the Lady Tigers scored four straight capped by a Caroline Mercer ace. The Pilots made the score 12-10, but Shadyside responded with six consecutive points to grab control for good.

Sarah Teasdale and Riley Brown each added five kills for the Lady Tigers.

“I’ve told them that now we’re kind of the team everyone wants to beat,” Coach Mercer said alluding to his squad’s perfect start. “We’re going to get everyone’s best punch and we have to be ready for that. We can’t afford an off night.”

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