The improvement Bethlehem Christian Academy volleyball coach Karen Carlyle has seen from her team early this season against tough competition finally translated on the scoreboard Thursday.

Playing in front of a home crowd for the first time on the year, the Knights won a tight, back-and-forth first game and then cruised more easily in the last two to shut out Monsignor Donovan 3-0 (28-26, 25-19, 25-17) in a GISA Region 4 match.

“It was a very nice win for us,” Carlyle said. “The girls played together really strong. Even when we weren’t hitting it on the money, they did a great job of backing each other up.”

In the first game, the Knights jumped out to an early 4-0 lead, but eventually found themselves in a 21-18 hole before climbing back in to tie it.

An ace by Olivia Morgan gave the Knights a 25-24 lead, but the Rams continued to match BCA on points. Finally, with her team up 27-26, BCA’s Morgan Locklar hit a shot that the Rams weren’t able to handle and keep in play, giving BCA the 28-26 win.

In game two, the Knights were down 15-13 when they went on a 10-0 run to take control.

Iris Hundeby’s kill sealed the win.

In the final game, the Knights again fell behind early before going on a big run to grab the lead. A return by Monsignor Donovan off a Sarah Najjar serve hit the net, clinching the win for the Knights.

Kaleigh Roseland had 10 kills in the match. Morgan had 8 kills, 13 digs and led the team in blocks, while Locklar had 6 kills and 3 aces and Najjar added 3 aces.

It was the first victory on the season for BCA (1-9, 1-2 region). The Knights had faced a brutal stretch of competition in matches against GHSA opponents at East Jackson, Monroe Area and Stephens County and had also dropped a couple of close region matches to Gatewood and Augusta Prep entering Thursday.

“I think the schedule to this point has helped us tremendously,” Carlyle said. “When you’re playing public schools and higher classifications at that, it helps you learn a lot.

“It hasn’t come out in the scoring yet, but it did today.”

BCA returns to action Thursday when it hosts region rival Loganville Christian at 5:30 p.m.

“They’re our big rival and our teams are usually pretty even talent-wise,” Carlyle said. “I know they’ll come firing and I think our girls will be ready for them.”

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