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Opp’s got that rhythm

Opp’s Laiken Free (14) and Olivia Bradley (3) block a kill Thursday night during the Lady Bobcats’ 3-0 area win over Straughn. The Lady Bobcats also clinched a berth to host the area tournament. |        Andrew Garner/Star-News

Opp’s Laiken Free (14) and Olivia Bradley (3) block a kill Thursday night during the Lady Bobcats’ 3-0 area win over Straughn. The Lady Bobcats also clinched a berth to host the area tournament. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

Opp set its own rhythm and stuck with it.

The Lady Bobcats swept Straughn 3-0 in area volleyball action Thursday night after establishing a fast momentum early to set the tone of the match.

OHS coach Christie Spurlin said despite a few blips, the girls played well.

“We had some bad passes to start off with,” Spurlin said. “Overall, I don’t worry about them (the girls) because I know they’re going to come back together.”

Opp cruised in the first two sets, winning 25-12 and 25-19, but faltered in the third when Straughn got in its comfort zone.

However, the Lady Bobcats regrouped after falling behind to take the final set, 25-18 for the win.

At the start of the first set, Opp went ahead 5-0, from which the Lady Tigers couldn’t recover.

The Lady Bobcats played a good pass and kill game to start the night, and ended the opener on a 7-0 run.

“Opp has a fantastic team,” SHS coach Daniel Rodgers said. “Laiken Free — that’s the hardest hitter we’ve faced this year.

“They’re extremely talented,” he said.

Free, an outside hitter, waited patiently for the right pass and unloaded on the ball when she got the opportunity.

Straughn settled down from the start of the second set after establishing an early lead at 4-2.

Defensively, the Lady Tigers were led by Jacie Williamson, who provided key blocks and kills on offense for SHS.

Opp (9-1, 2-0 in Class 3A, Area 2) tied the second set at 7-7 and from there, the Lady Bobcats went on a short 3-0 run to lead 10-7.

The rest of the middle set was a back and forth effort until OHS came out on the good end of a 5-0 run.

Straughn, who suffered its first loss of the season last night, settled down in the third set, taking advantage of some Lady Bobcats errors.

SHS held a 10-4 advantage, but Opp came back with a 4-0 run to force Rodgers to call a timeout.

Later on, Free nailed a kill cross court to make it 11-14.

Opp then went on runs of 3-0, 5-0 and 6-0 to close out the third set and the match.

“I’ve got to do a better job of getting us ready,” Rodgers said. “I saw a lot of things I can improve on as a coach. Hopefully, I can get our team to play better. I’m taking this loss squarely on my shoulders.”

Opp’s junior high girls won 2-1 (7-25, 25-8, 15-11); and Straughn’s junior varsity squad won 26-24, 25-19 in earlier action.

Opp hosts Excel on Tuesday, while Straughn visits Zion Chapel.