EDWARDSVILLE - Rihanna Huebner and Gabby Saye had eight kills each, while freshman Sydney Davis served up 10 points and also had six kills and two blocks as Edwardsville's girls volleyball team defeated Belleville West 25-19, 25-8 in a Southwestern Conference match Wednesday evening at Lucco-Jackson Gym.

The Tigers, coming off a tough three set win over Belleville East the night before, started out slowly, but was able to pick up momentum as the match went on.

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"We were off to a rocky start, just a little slow," said Edwardsville head coach Heather Ohlau. "Some of our hits were long, some of our passes were off-target, but the girls rallied and found their rhythm."

The match the previous night definitely served as an alarm for the Tigers.

"I think the East match sounded as a warning," Ohlau said. "We hadn't struggled too much until that point, and I thought it was a good wake-up call for the girls."

For the match, Kaitlyn Conway served up eight points with two aces, while Lexie Griffin served up eight points with two aces and 14 assists, Maddie Grimes had both a kill and a block, Alexa Harris had eight points, four kills and an assist, Huebner also had two blocks, Morgan Tulacro had four points, a kill and 13 assists and Ava Waltenberger had a kill and a block. In addition, Conway had 14 digs, while Harris had nine.

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Both Waltenberger, a sophomore, and Davis, a freshman, have fit right in and played well in place of Emma Garner and Storm Suhre, both of whom are currently out with lower body injuries. The assistance of the team's upperclassmen has helped tremendously.

"Absolutely," Ohlau said. "As younger players step into new roles, they look to the upperclassmen, and they know that they have their support."

The Tigers stay undefeated at 5-0, and travel to Alton for a match tonight, then travel to East St. Louis Tuesday night, all in preparation for the Southwestern Conference tournament in April.

"Hopefully, we'll finish up our next two matches at Alton tomorrow, and at East St. Louis on Tuesday," Ohlau said, "and prepare for the conference tournament."

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