South Warren and Bowling Green followed busy weekends with an important District 14 volleyball match Tuesday.

The Spartans were coming off a good showing at the Bluegrass Invitational Volleyball Tournament at Lafayette against some of the top teams in the state. The Purples claimed victories in all three matches they played at the Best of the West in Owensboro on Saturday.

When the two met at Bowling Green on Tuesday, it was South Warren overcoming serving issues to come away with a 3-0 (25-17, 25-18, 26-24) win and get a leg up in the district standings.

“We did well over the weekend just by serving and controlling the first ball, and that was a large part about what we tried to talk about tonight even though we didn’t serve as well as we possibly could have,” South Warren coach Justin Griffin said. “We did put enough pressure on them to get some easy balls over and just finishing plays in the court when we’re making swings offensively.”

South Warren went on a 5-0 run capped off by a kill from Maddie Rockrohr – one of her four in the opening set – to take a 9-4 lead and wouldn’t trail again in the frame.

A kill from Charli Hodges, an error from the Spartans and Hodges’ second kill got Bowling Green within a point, but the Purples couldn’t get any closer. South Warren used a 6-1 run started by a kill from Sophie Pemberton and finished by a serve from Layla Jackson that wasn’t returned to take a 19-13 lead that forced Bowling Green coach Amy Wininger to call a timeout.

The Spartans eventually closed out the set 25-17 on a Bowling Green service error.

Serving was a cause for concern early in the second set for the Spartans, but they managed to stay afloat. Four of Bowling Green’s first five points in the set came from South Warren serves that didn’t land in play. South Warren had 18 service errors in the contest.

“We were just trying to serve aggressively. I think the ball was just floating a little bit too much for us,” Griffin said. “Our aim was a little off, but we tried to get back there and still keep it in the court and serve it aggressive and get some easy balls over.”

Despite that, a kill from Maddie Roebuck, one from Pemberton and two from Rockrohr, along with a Bowling Green error, kept things even at 5-all. The Spartans followed with a 4-0 run with kills from Roebuck, Pemberton and Megan Simmons and an ace from Sophie Doszak to go ahead, 9-5.

“We just tried to move the ball around offensively. Sydney (Clayton) does a really good job of distributing the balls to every one of our hitters to get them going,” Griffin said.

South Warren extended its lead to as large as 12 points with a kill from Rockrohr, making it 24-12, before eventually ending it, 25-18, with a kill from Simmons.

Bowling Green didn’t back down despite the 2-0 deficit in the match and a roster full of young players – the Purples only have two seniors – and took a 22-20 lead in a back-and-forth third set with a block from Anna Neal.

“We’re developing some chemistry, so this weekend was really good for chemistry, but we need to have a faster offense, so that’s what we’re working on right now,” Wininger said. “A faster offense and really identifying who our go-to people are at the end of the game.”

The Spartans evened the score following a timeout from Griffin thanks to a service error and a kill from Simmons, but Hodges used her fifth kill – one shy of Elizabeth Maglinger’s team-high six – to put the Purples back ahead.

Rockrohr recorded her game-high 10th kill to make it 23-23. It was followed by an error from Bowling Green and a kill from Neal to make it 24-all.

Simmons gave the Spartans the lead before Erin Nerland – playing in her first match back from an injury – ended it with a shot across the court that found the floor.

“I was really excited. I’ve been out with two injuries recently and it was my first game back and I was just super excited and everything was high-energy,” Nerland said. “It was just a good time being back in the game and everybody played great.”

South Warren moves to 8-1 overall and 3-1 against district opponents. The Spartans are scheduled to travel to Warren Central at 7 p.m. Thursday.

Bowling Green falls to 5-4 overall and 2-2 against District 14 opponents. The Purples are scheduled to host Warren East at 5 p.m. Thursday.{&end}

– Follow sports reporter Jared MacDonald on Twitter @JMacDonaldSport or visit bgdailynews.com.

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Covering prep sports and Western Kentucky University women's basketball for the Bowling Green Daily News.

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