HANNIBAL — Emma Deien didn't want to let down her Hannibal volleyball teammates with her serving.
So the senior decided to work on it.
“I just had a stretch where I missed serves every game,” Deien said. “I just focused on it more because serving is a big part of the game.”
Deien spent time in practice focusing on the details of serving like how the she tossed the ball up in the air.
She feels like it has paid off. That showed Monday night.
Hannibal was sluggish in the opening set against North Central Missouri Conference rival Mexico and trailed 14-12 when Deien's turn to serve came. The result was a 10-0 run that helped Hannibal top Mexico 25-19, 25-15 at Korf Gym.
“She's definitely our most aggressive server,” Hannibal coach Megan Phillips said. “We came out very slow and we weren't talking or moving. We needed that.”
Deien's serving put Mexico on its heels, which allowed Hannibal to dictate the tempo. An attacking error and a kill by Peyton Utterback tied the set at 14-14. Abby Baumann's kill gave Hannibal a 15-14 lead, and the Pirates never trailed again.
Deien also had an ace, while Utterback had another kill during the run.
By the time Mexico scored again, the lead was 21-15. However, kills by Bella Falconer and Baumann pushed the lead to 24-16. Mexico went on a brief 3-0 run before an attacking error clinched the set for Hannibal.
“We just started working together more,” Deien said. “We just got more into the game after being so flat and our chemistry really came together.”
Phillips knows the Pirates aren't the most talkative group on the court. However, she's able to tell a difference between just being quiet and being sluggish.
“It's just how they celebrate each other,” Phillips said. “You can tell because that's how they are. They've never been vocal, but they make it work. It drives me crazy sometimes, but we just talk and make sure that we're talking after plays.”
Hannibal rolled to an 8-3 start in the second set after another ace by Deien. The Bulldogs never got closer than five points the rest of the way.
Baumann led the Pirates with five kills. Deien, Bella Falconer and Kaylee Falconer all had four kills, while Utterback added three.
Kaylee Falconer dished out 10 assists.