Apollo tops Lady Panthers in three sets

Sep. 13—Sparked by a quick start and anchored by a strong defensive effort, the Apollo High School volleyball team captured a 3-0 victory over rival Daviess County in a district matchup Tuesday at DCHS.

The E-Gals won 25-11, 25-14, 25-15 to improve to 10-6 overall and 2-1 in 9th District play.

"We came out sharp on offense and defense tonight," Apollo head coach Mary Howard said afterward. "That's one thing we've been working on is really making more variations in our offense, speeding it up, and I thought we were able to do that tonight. I was really pleased with that.

"Our consistency from set to set was pretty good. We didn't have any major dips or anything. I thought it was a good district match against a scrappy Daviess team, and it was a good night for us."

Apollo jumped out to a 9-2 start in the opening set, then later closed on an 8-0 scoring run to seal the 1-0 edge.

Following a 7-7 stalemate in the second set, the E-Gals scored 12 of the next 16 points to establish an 19-11 advantage and pulled away from there.

The Lady Panthers (5-9, 0-3 9th District) trailed 15-13 in the final set, and Apollo closed on a 10-2 run to claim the overall victory. The win snapped a two-game losing skid for the visitors.

Creating versatility in the E-Gals' offense, Howard added, should help create more scoring opportunities and keep opponents off balance.

"You have to beat teams in a best-three-out-of-five game," she said. "And really, after the first two sets, you can kind of figure out what the other team's doing pretty quickly. With those variations, if the things that we're working on in the first set aren't working in the third set, you have other options to throw out there.

"You've got to keep the other team's defense from getting comfortable, and that's our goal on offense."

Ava Fazio finished with 12 kills for Apollo, Abie Butterworth posted 11 kills, Jennifer Lee recorded seven kills with two blocks, and Ahalia Ramirez passed for 28 assists. The E-Gals also got 17 digs from Kelsey Dickinson and eight digs and three aces from Kadi Daugherty, as well as five digs and a pair of aces from Kaley Dickinson.

The E-Gals have also placed an emphasis on responding positively when their opponents make runs.

"To get to where we want to be by the end of the year, we've got to be able to overcome the other team's momentum swings," Howard said. "That's one thing we've talked about is they're going to make plays, whoever the opponent is, and they're going to get some momentum, but you've got to be able to cut back into that and bring it back to your side."

Both teams will return to action Thursday, with Apollo hosting Breckinridge County at 7:30 p.m. and the Lady Panthers taking on Madisonville-North Hopkins at 7 p.m. at DCHS.