McGehee High School entered Tuesday’s volleyball match against Ben Franklin with an undefeated record.
After sweeping the Falcons 25-15, 25-19, 25-17, the Hawks stayed undefeated.
“Ball control was really on target tonight and that provided us with a well-balanced offense,” McGehee coach Val Whitfield-Dunn said.
The Hawks (18-0) are ranked third in The New Orleans Advocate’s small school poll while the Falcons (9-2) are fourth in the large school poll.
McGehee held as much as a 10-point lead in the opening set, however the second set featured six ties before the Hawks pulled away.
“I feel that Ben Franklin was an excellent team and they were putting some balls away,” Whitfield-Dunn said. “They were hustling and scrapping. So I felt like our girls made a few errors that cost us a couple of points here and there.”
Julia Felix led McGehee with nine kills and 22 assists. Tyler Beckham had 15 kills and five blocks.
Allison Olsonoski had a game-high 16 kills while Claire Molaison had 21 assists.
Beating a Division II team was a great confidence-booster for the Division IV Hawks, Whitfield-Dunn said.
Felix said she knew the Falcons would be scrappy and said her team had to stay on its toes.
“Ben Franklin’s very scrappy, very well-balanced,” the junior said. “Everyone’s really good and they all put a lot of effort in. They always fight. They’re never giving up. So, we had to focus on our side of the court. We had to fight hard for this game.”
Felix said Ben Franklin took advantage of some of her team’s errors in the second set.
“We made some consecutive errors,” she said. “They pushed on it. They didn’t give up. We knew we had to fix that, push away and finish the game.
“I think we played as a team today. We all hustled, worked, and made sure that we didn’t have a lot of consecutive errors.”
Ben Franklin coach Jody Pulizzano said nerves may have gotten to her team initially.
“I think we were a little nervous coming in,” Pulizzano said. “It just didn’t start off well.”
In the first set, McGehee had amassed 17 points before Franklin reached double-figures.
“We let them have all the momentum. They’re good; I already knew that coming in. “
While the game might have been a confidence-booster for McGehee, Ben Franklin gained something from it, too.
“I think it was a great experience for our kids to be able to play that caliber of a team,” Pulizzano said. “We’re learning. We’re trying to build a little character here. So this helps out.”