BY ROCKY STANLEY
THE DAILY INDEPENDENT
Listed as defensive specialist, Senior tallies 7 kills
Russell's Rachel Saunders blocks Fairview's Alexis Claar’s shot for a point on Tuesday. Russell won the match, 3-1.
Russell's Grace Satterwhite returns a ball during Tuesday's win over Fairview.
MATT JONES | THE DAILY INDEPENDENT
RUSSELL Though Russell’s volleyball roster lists Hannah Saunders as a defensive specialist, she was in attack mode much of Tuesday night.
The senior racked up seven kills, including her spike off a Fairview blocker to close out a 3-1 victory
over Fairview in Marvin Meredith Gymnasium.
in Marvin Meredith Gym.
“When Hannah gets a good hit, it gets everybody going,” Russell coach Tiffany Perry said.
That’s just another sign that the team’s arrow is pointing up. The Lady Devils entered 2017 after key graduation losses and captain/ middle hitter Emily Robinson has been out of action recently. Perry challenged her players early on to step up and she’s been pleased with how they are answering the call.
The Lady Devils improved to 6-1 with their third consecutive win. They got off to a fast start Tuesday and then turned away a Fairview comeback 25-12, 25-17, 23-25, 25-20.
“The past few games we’ve worked together,” Saunders said. “The chem- istry has been great. We cheer each other up.”
Her sophomore sister, Rachel — six kills — has been another of the catalysts while freshman Grace Satterwhite continues to provide outstanding all-around play.
Satterwhite collected eight kills, 35 passes and served for 14 points.
“She’s tough, a really good player,” Fairview coach Rick Lambert said.
Fairview led 9-5 in the final set, but Russell forged ahead with nine consecutive points on Satterwhite’s serve. She had an ace and two kills during the span — capped by a Hannah Saunders spike to make it 15-9.
The Lady Devils increased the margin to seven. Fairview rallied to within three points on two occasions, the last at 23-20 before Russell put it away.
“We made a good comeback,” Lambert said. “We played with more emotion and consistency the last two games. I’m very proud of the way they fought and clawed back. I think Russell knows they were in a battle.”
Senior Piper Figley asserted herself in the middle for the Lady Eagles (5-3). She finished with 10 blocks and seven kills. Another senior, Sydney Ekers, had 12 assists while Alexis Claar and Amy Elswick combined for six blocks. Elswick also served a couple of aces.
Russell controlled the first two games. The third featured 14 ties, including 23-all.
Fairview extended the match by scoring the next two points, then jumped out to a 5-1 lead in the fourth set as Figley supplied two kills and a block.
“I think the third set and beginning of the fourth, we kind of got down on ourselves,” Hannah Saunders said.
“We realized if we work together, we can accomplish anything.”