Sulphur volleyball overcomes opening-set jitters for win

Published 10:00 am Tuesday, August 30, 2022

SULPHUR — The Sulphur Tors overcame a first-set loss to beat Iota 3-1 (18-25, 25-15, 25-19, 25-18) on Tuesday in the season opener for both teams.

“I think we just had home game jitters,” Sulphur head coach Bridget Coppels said. “The stands were very packed tonight, which I love to see. But sometimes when you haven’t played at home in over a year, even if you are a senior-loaded team, you just get nervous.

“Iota showed up to play, credit to them. I am really proud of the way we held our composure through sets two, three and four.”

Kendall Judge led Sulphur with 11 kills, Finli Dennis had nine kills and 16 digs and Keelie Seaford recorded five kills and 20 assists. Claire Weidner added five kills and five aces.

Sulphur cleaned up its attacks in the second set, cutting its errors from six to two.

Judge opened the second set with a kill from the outside on a pass from Seaford. Iota managed to cut the Tors’ lead to 10-8 on a kill by Hebert, but the Tors pulled away with a 9-3 run.

Judge finished with four kills in the second set, and Dennis added three.

“We just took big-girl swings and got more kills,” Coppels said. “In set one, we were pretty nervous and we didn’t want to take big swings.

“I think in sets two, three and four, we took pretty big swings. I thought our serve-receive was really good, which kept us in system. And I liked the way we moved our offense around to put ourselves in a better position to be successful.”

2021 Division III quarterfinalist Iota controlled the opening set after taking a 6-1 lead on an ace by Chloe Bordelon.

Sulphur made a 5-1 run to cut Iota’s lead to 14-10 on a kill by Kennedy Dougherty, but Bordelon and Brinna Hebert had two kills apiece to help the Bulldogs finish off the set.

“We hit the ball, put the ball down and made them work on the other end,” Iota head coach Meredith Hebert said. “Defensively, we have to pick up their balls. We are going to have to do better on defense.”

The third set was a mixed bag with the teams trading leads early. Holding a tenuous 15-13 lead, the Tors got some breathing room with a 5-2 run. Weidner had a kill and back-to-back aces to help settle the Tors down.

Iota led early in the fourth set before Sulphur took the lead for good on an ace by Dennis.

Hebert had 12 kills for Iota, Jenna Seilhan had 25 assists.