Franklin’s volleyball team suffered a pair of excruciating five-set losses to Greenwood last season, ending a winning streak that had spanned more than a decade.
Although both teams entered Tuesday’s game looking a bit different after offseason coaching changes, the Grizzly Cub’s returning players certainly haven’t forgotten those earlier setbacks — and they’ve assured of not letting the same thing happen again, dominating all the way. through a surprisingly lopsided 25-13, 25-10, 25-12 over host Woodmen in their season opener.
“It gives you something in your workouts to focus on,” Franklin first-year coach Pat Carlson said. “They were quite prepared and focused this week in training because they really wanted to do well and show off a bit. … They didn’t want to feel that anymore.
After falling to an early 4-1 hole in the first set, the Grizzly Cubs took control soon after, with a block from Scarlett Kimbrell giving them the lead. That block started a 7-1 push that gave the visitors a 12-6 advantage. Kimbrell served the final four points of the set, which ended with back-to-back wins over Veronica Whitaker and Rose Mahin.
Franklin carried that momentum into the second set, where it quickly snowballed. Maggie Doty delivered pocket aces early to get the ball rolling, and a three-game winning streak from Kimbrell extended the lead to 10-3. A handful of offensive errors from the Woodmen only deepened the gap, and after Kennedy Urban found a hole in Greenwood’s defense with a soft kill tip, the margin had grown to 19-4. The home side showed some brief signs of life to extend the action but ran out of room to manoeuvre; the Grizzly Cubs scored the final three points of the set, with kills from Aubrey Runyon and Kimbrell booking an ace from Emilee Rector.
The Woodmen (0-2) stayed within striking distance early in the third, shooting within 9-5 on a cross shot from Ella Stivers, but Franklin again proved too much. Whitaker and Brooklyn York stuffed Greenwood star Mya Ayro at the net to turn the tide in favor of the visitors. Kimbrell delivered back-to-back wins to extend the lead to 18-9, and the Woodmen couldn’t get back into single digits.
Kimbrell, who finished with a record 15 game-clinching wins for the Grizzly Cubs, credited recovery as a motivating factor.
“It was definitely a redemption game,” she said. “Trying to go out for revenge, and I think we did.”
Greenwood, who had high expectations after reaching the section final last season, appeared out of sync for much of Tuesday’s game – a result at least partially attributable to the uncertainty surrounding the squad. First-year coach Melissa Antrim abruptly quit last Friday, just hours before the Woodmen’s opener against Mt. Vernon, and the ripple effects of that were still evident against Franklin.
“We have a lot on our minds right now,” said Zach Mackie, now Greenwood’s fourth head coach in the last 12 months, “and we’re really trying to rebuild this year and try to build that family more. . atmosphere – and there are trade-offs we’re going to have to make to get there.
“They put in everything they could over the last week, especially with the circumstances, but we have work to do, and we’re going to buckle up and we’re going to work together to right the ship. ”
Urban totaled 26 assists for Franklin in the win; Runyon had six kills and Mahin five. Defensively, Kate Pinnick led the charge with 21 digs.