An early matchup of top-15 teams went Paul Laurence Dunbar's way Thursday night, even if their play was a bit more uneven than they might have liked.
The No. 7 Bulldogs swept No. 14 Louisville Christian by scores of 25-21, 25-20 and 25-20. It was a match mostly defined by out-of-bounds serves by both squads and more shanks than each would care to remember.
Louisville Christian was the beneficiary of several Dunbar errors in game one, eventually taking a 17-13 lead before a stretch of Centurion errors put it in Dunbar's favor.
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University of Kentucky commit Leah Edmond served what would be the game-one winner for the Bulldogs. The senior said she and her teammates just needed to relax.
"We just needed to remember we're playing this for fun and just get back to what we know how to play," she said.
Edmond, who finished with a team-high 13 kills, said that the Bulldogs, who beat Ryle in five sets Monday, have some things to work on in practice but it was early enough in the season not to worry too much. Coach Jennifer Morgan echoed that sentiment.
"We're still working out kinks," Morgan said. "We made a lot of unforced errors. There were a lot of service errors on both sides. We're working on lineups so we don't expect it to be perfect right now.
"We're just trying to work through and fight through adversities to get where we wanna be in the end."
The Bulldogs never trailed in game two and led by eight points twice — 10-2 and 20-12 — before allowing Centurion runs. A back-and-forth third game ended in Dunbar's favor after it created some distance following an 11-11 tie.
"We just kind of lost some focus, which comes with the territory," Morgan said. "They're in their second week of school, they're tired. But I keep telling them, 'This is what you enjoy doing, this is what you wanna do, so when it's game time come out and play the game and stay focused. We're working for the whole three sets.'"
Junior libero Francesca Macchiavello had a team-high 16 digs for Dunbar. Senior Katie Shunk had eight kills for the Bulldogs.
The Centurions' Caroline Rassenfoss caused headaches at the net for Dunbar attackers, and she had her share of kills. At one point she recorded three of four for Louisville Christian, which beat Male and fell to Mercy this week to start the year 1-2.