LONGVIEW -- Defense was the key Tuesday night in No. 4 Spring Hill's 25-7, 25-23, 25-15 sweep of No. 18 Gilmer in District 16-3A action.

Senior Savannah Voelzke led the charge, knocking down 12 kills to add to her seven blocks and two digs. Junior Allison Akins went 10-for-10 from the service line and recorded four digs for the Lady Panthers.

“We work really hard every day to get where we are,” Akins said. “We didn’t want Gilmer to think they could shut us down. We are very confident and will continue to keep working hard in practice to perfect our skills.”

Fueled by eight consecutive service points by Aly Curtis, Spring Hill jumped to an early 16-3 lead over Gilmer in Game 1. Shaylee Fennell tried to keep the Lady Buckeyes’ hopes alive by knocking down back-to-back kills, but Spring Hill’s Dani Dechered took to the service line for the final four points of game, giving the Lady Panthers a 1-0 advantage in the match.

Game 2 proved to be a defensive battle for both teams. Propelled by four straight kills by Gilmer’s Maci Ritter, the Lady Buckeyes led the Lady Panthers by as much as six points before Spring Hill regrouped. Setter Rachel Riestenberg collected six consecutive points to tie the game, 18-18. On an ace by Fennell, the Lady Buckeyes tied the game once again before two kills by Voelzke ensured the Lady Panthers their second victory of the match.

In the third game of the evening, Spring Hill and Gilmer were tied at 5-5 before Jacey Fleet knocked down two kills, shifting the momentum back to the Lady Panthers’ direction. Akins took to the service line for five consecutive serves, including one ace, before a kill Gigi Oglesby allowed the Lady Buckeyes to regain control of the ball. Jessie Jacoby racked up four service points for Gilmer before Spring Hill, on a Voelzke block, secured the game and the match for the Lady Panthers.

“Gilmer is a solid team,” Spring Hill coach Karen Brundrett said. “Their coach has done a great job with her kids. We came out ready to attack. We had a letdown in the second game and we needed to avoid doing that again. We needed to control the game and if we could do that we knew that we would come out on top.”

Fleet hammered down five kills to add to her five digs and Ann Hollas chipped in with five kills and two blocks in the Lady Panthers victory.

Fennell recorded 22 assists to go with her three kills, two blocks and two digs, while Makayla Sikes added four kills and six digs for the Lady Buckeyes.

Spring Hill continues its season Friday at home against Gladewater.