By Nick Hampton
With just over a week to go before the playoffs, the Muskogee Lady Roughers’ volleyball team looks to be peaking at just the right time.
Muskogee, winners of eight of its last nine matches, cruised to what coach John Hammer termed a nearly picture-perfect victory 3-0 (25-7, 25-11, 25-10) over Choctaw Monday night at the Lady Roughers’ gym.
“This is the first time in 19 years of coaching that I didn’t see one thing I could point to and say I would like to improve that,” said Hammer. “We just played super, super volleyball.”
Muskogee (21-10) was never in trouble in the match with Choctaw (18-17), who led only one time when it scored the first two points of the third set. But Muskogee roared back with 10 straight points to coast to victory.
Although it was a great team effort, Hammer pointed again to the play of sophomore Leigh Westbrook who had 10 kills and five blocks and who has been improving as the season has progressed.
“Leigh is very athletic and very smart,” said Hammer. “She’s a basketball player as well and I think that helps her with volleyball. She’s one of our few players who doesn’t play club volleyball because of basketball, but she’s really caught up because of her athleticism and work ethic.”
For her part, Westbrook feels she has made a lot of progress as the season has gone along
“I’ve been improving a lot on dominating the net and blocking and my hitting has gotten a lot better too,” said Westbrook.
The statistics also reflected the team effort of the victory as Alexis Rosson had three aces and six digs, Jensen Martin had 26 assists, Claire Farmer with 10 kills and six digs, Karla Jones had 12 kills, Shanna Logan and Madison Hiner both registered four kills and Brett Allen contributed seven digs.
The Lady Roughers wrap up the regular season this week with a contest at 6 p.m. today at Putnam City North before then returning home Thursday for Senior Night to try and avenge an earlier loss to Class 5A’s No.9 ranked Coweta Tigers. And Hammer is pleased with where his Lady Roughers are heading down the stretch.
“If we win these next two matches, we’ll achieve our goal of most wins in a season which we set last season, so there’s still a lot to play for,” said Hammer. “We played well last weekend and tonight and I’m not sure we’ve peaked yet. We’re playing really good volleyball right now.”