Charleston’s Kat Blase tips the ball past Effingham’s Krista Phillips (left) Kennedy Sowell, and Jaci Boatman at Effingham High on Tuesday evening. (Photo/Chet Piotrowski)

By Chet Piotrowski

Charleston overcame a sluggish start Tuesday evening to take a three-set volleyball victory over Effingham, improving to 3-1 overall and 2-1 in the Apollo Conference.

Effingham went on a 5-0 scoring spree in the first set buoyed by an ace from junior Samantha Urch.Charleston halted the run by a kill from senior Kat Blase. The Trojans would tie the score at 9-apiece, go ahead after a hit by Urch landed out of bounds, and eventually won the set.

​The Trojans would play the Hearts closer in the second set, trading points until a Triplett kill was blocked back at giving the Hearts a 24-22 lead before taking the final point.

​Charleston would go on a 13-6 run with back-to-back kills by Blase. After exchanging points, Effingham scored 5 consecutive to bring the third set score to 12-14 before a Charleston timeout.​

When we get into a rut, it’s a lot of unforced errors,” Charleston coach Steve Pamperin said. “Effingham put a lot of pressure on us. We have to do a better job of taking care of our ball.”

​Blase used her reach to block an Effingham kill, gaining a point and serve.

The Parkland College commit earned another kill giving the Trojans a 17-14 lead.

Charleston’s Alycia Triplett attempts to spike the ball against Effingham’s Samantha Urch ands Kennedy Sowel. (Photo/Chet Piotrowski)

Blase would be set up again for another kill, keeping par with Effingham at 18-15. The teams would trade service points.

Charleston’s Makenzie Pamperin then served out of bounds, letting Effingham get within 24-23 before the Hearts returned a volley into the net that gave the Trojans the third-set victory.

“At the end of the match, we were able to keep our composure and get those last few points. We struggled all night,” Pamperin said. “Hats off to Effingham they came out and really competed and played really, really hard with a higher level of energy and be ready to go.”

Blase said she didn’t feel the team had energy early, which led to their troubles.

“I felt like we came out and weren’t as excited, Blase said. “We had a hard start at the beginning. I felt it was our energy. I felt the difference was our energy. They got a few points, then our energy would go down. If we scored a few points then our energy would go up again. We’d do better. We have to come out the next match with better energy and ready to go.”

“In the third set, the girls came out with a lot more energy, especially in the beginning of the set,” Pamperin said. “n the middle of the set, we got a little complacent. Effingham outmatched us with their effort. The good thing is we were able to get through the end of that set.”

​The third set lead was crucial for the win.

“It’s big. You want to get that lead,” Pamperin said. “What we want to do is, when we have a lead, is to continue to build on that lead and not take any pressure off.”

Blasé said the team doesn’t look at the score necessarily.

“It’s nice. We don’t focus on the score, we focus on playing together as a team,” Blase said. “It does help if you’re ahead, obviously.”

Blase said the team needs to improve its communication.

“We just needed to talk about our game, how Charleston plays,” she said.