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Lady Vandals knocked off by pesky Roxana squad

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By Andrew Harner

VANDALIA – It didn’t seem that anything the Lady Vandals did in the attack game last Thursday would work.

Vandalia’s players hit with authority at times and then tried off-speed tips, but a pesky Roxana squad dug up almost all of those attacks on the way to handing the Lady Vandals their first loss with a 25-18, 25-9 victory in South Central Conference action.

“(The Lady Shells) were playing well, but mentally, we weren’t ready to go from the beginning,” said Vandalia coach Allison Hall. “We were slow on our feet and slow mentally, as far as communicating with each other.

“Once we got behind, I don’t think we ever bounced back,” she said. “We went into our own shells and didn’t come out of them and start working together as a group, and we aren’t going to win many ballgames doing that.”

Vandalia (2-1, 1-1 SCC) had just 13 kills in the match – despite racking up 82 attacks, as the teams traded several long rallies – and were led by senior Megan Godoyo and junior Johanna Walton, with four kills each.

Roxana (5-1, 2-0 SCC) was led by junior Bailey McGuire – the best hitter Vandalia has seen so far – who had 10 kills, many of which were well-placed around the Lady Vandal defense.

“We didn’t have much zip behind the ball,” Hall said. “We have to attack hard, because everybody is ready to get us, since we’ve had so many wins over the years.”

The teams had a tight battle last season, with the Lady Vandals prevailing, 16-25, 25-15, 27-25, at Roxana.

It appeared the teams would be in for another battle, as Vandalia jumped out to early leads in both sets.

Kills for Godoyo and Walton, and an ace by junior Kadi Metzger pushed the Lady Vandals to a 6-1 lead in the first set, but Roxana would follow with 11 of the next 12 points to take command.

Vandalia worked back to a tie at 17 after Metzger and Walton teamed up for a block, and Walton and junior Jessica Sullens recorded kills.

The Lady Shells, however, would secure seven of the final eight points to earn the set win.

Walton had an early kill in the second set and junior Jessica Booker followed with an ace to give Vandalia a 4-1 lead, but Roxana again wasn’t deterred, scoring the next 10 points, and later closing the match with 13 of the final 17 points.

There is some benefit, Hall said, as the team – which is has limited varsity experience – needs to learn how to come back from tough situations.

“Getting that experience of being in a game where you are frustrated and learning how to come out of it and be successful (is important),” Hall said. “We haven’t had that point yet (this year).”

During the game, sophomore Gracie Morrison recorded her first two career kills, senior Brandy Protz corralled her first career varsity kill and sophomore Makayla Tinker had first career assist.

Thursday, Sept. 5
Roxana 25, Vandalia 18
Roxana 25, Vandalia 9
Kills: Godoyo, 4; Walton, 4; Morrison, 2; Metzger, 1; Protz, 1; Sullens, 1.
Aces: Booker, 1; Metzger, 1.
Assists: Sullens, 9; Metzger, 1; Makayla Tinker, 1.
Blocks: Walton, 2; Tinker, 1; Godoyo, ½; Metzger, ½.
Record: 2-1 (1-1 SCC)
JV: Vandalia (2-1) won, 25-18, 24-26, 25-23.
F/S: Vandalia (0-0-3) split, 25-22, 20-25.

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Godoyo is off to a strong start in her senior season

VANDALIA – Megan Godoyo has had her knee operated on twice during her high school career.

Somehow, that seems to have made the Vandalia senior’s leaping ability even better.

Godoyo has shown tremendous height on her attacks to lead the Lady Vandals to a 2-1 record through the first three games of the season, at least sharing the team lead in kills in all of those games.

“Coming off of those knee injuries, you can’t say enough about how she is playing,” Hall said. “She is jumping higher than she was before the knee injury.

“She has done a lot of weight-lifting, and she has gotten stronger legs and a quicker arm swing.”

That has led her to the team lead in kills, with 28 through three games – including just four against Roxana last Thursday.

And while her stats were down against the Lady Shells, just three of her 27 attacks resulted in errors, so she was a victim of a tough defense that dug out or blocked several of her attacks in each set of the 18-25, 9-25 loss.

That game came after stellar performances in the season-opener against St. Elmo/Brownstown and at Staunton, games in which she combined for 24 kills.

“She was frustrated because the tip (kills) were working at Staunton, but they weren’t tonight,” Hall said. “She needs to keep doing them, because they are there, but tonight just wasn’t it.”

As the only returning starter, Godoyo has embraced a leadership role – both vocally and with her play.

Her 13 kills at Staunton last Tuesday more than doubled her season-high tally from last season, when she twice had six kills as Vandalia’s No. 4 hitter.

“She is playing pretty well,” Hall said. “She is never going to quit, and is going to be everywhere, no matter what the score is.”