By BOB ETTINGER
For the Star Beacon
ANDOVER TOWNSHIP —
In any sport, stringing together bunches of points is ultimately the name of the game. The Warriors were able to accomplish that rather effectively Thursday night in beating Pymatuning Valley, 25-12, 25-13, 25-23.
“When you have a server who can run long strings of points, that’s a momentum getter,” Edgewood coach Dave Fowler said. “When you can get long strings of points, no lead feels safe enough.
“In volleyball, the game really doesn’t start until around 15 points. In the third game, I told the girls we wanted to be within four by the 15th point. We were at 15-11. From that point, we strung a couple more (points) together and had the lead before they scored their 20th point.”
The Lakers (12-8, 8-3 in Northeastern Athletic Conference) ran out to leads of 9-2 and 11-4 in the third game behind the hot hand of Heather Brant, who had tallied four kills. The Warriors (17-1), however, closed that gap quickly.
Alyssa Johnson had an ace spike to give Gia Saturday her turn to serve with Edgewood trailing, 14-8. Kills from Katie Thomas and Courtney DiDonato had the Warriors within four, 14-10, and a PV spiking error cut the deficit to three.
An ace spike from Thomas had the Warriors within two, 16-14. Two Lakers’ spikes off the back wall of the gym knotted the score, 16-16, with Judith Silvieus serving. A kill from Taylor Diemer, a PV spiking error, two kills from Thomas and an ace serve from Silvieus had Edgewood in front, 21-16.
The match wasn’t quite over yet. Brant sandwiched a kill and an ace block around an Edgewood spiking error to make it 21-19, Warriors. Brant later tied it at 22-22 with a kill.
“PV battled,” Fowler said. “Give them a lot of credit. They kept battling.”
Taylor Hawkins, with her first playing time of the match, netted kills on consecutive points, and after an Edgewood passing error, Diemer closed the match with a kill.
“You see it every night,” PV coach Rob Wludyga said. “It’s basically who can sustain runs for longer periods of time. Momentum is the greater part of the game. Being able to stay in it mentally is a big part of being able to steal the momentum back.”
Edgewood opened the match on an 8-0 run with Jaime Rogers serving. Thomas had an ace block and a kill and Silvieus had a kill along the way. Later, an ace serve from Silvieus and a pair of ace spikes from Thomas had Edgewood up, 22-10.
“(Once you get down so far in the first game), you’re battling to come back early,” Fowler said. “We started both the first two games with a run. In the third game, they did it to us.”
“In both the first and second games, we dug early holes,” Wludyga said. “A team as good as Edgewood is very tough to come back on because the play such good defense.”
Despite not putting the ball straight to the floor much to start the second game, the Warriors took a 5-0 lead.
“We didn’t have a lot of mistakes tonight,” Fowler said. “Our mistakes were all isolated. The points (PV) got on offense were primarily earned. It was a tough win.
“We were hitting the ball so hard, they were having to dash so far back to they weren’t able to get a lot good swings on the ball. You’re not always to have the opportunity when it’s being hit back at you hard and consistently. I thought we hit hard really consistently.”
Edgewood extended that advantage to 9-2 on a kill from Thomas and an ace tip from setter Anna Applebee.
“We gave them too many free balls,” Wludyga said. “Our passing wasn’t as sharp as it could have been. Good teams will make you pay for that. They did get a lot of good swings on the ball. They made it tough to stay in the game defensively.”
Thomas finished with 18 aces on 29-of-36 spiking and added four blocks. Silvieus had eight kills on 30-of-32 spiking and Diemer (14-of-14 spiking) and Johnson (9-of-10 spiking) each had three aces.
“We had 38 kills tonight in three games,” Fowler said. “When you have that many kills, you’re in system a lot. We put pressure on their defense.”
Brant was easily the most effective Laker with 14 kills on 31-of-35 spiking while Kelsea Brown had five kills on 20-of-28 spiking.
Ettinger is a freelance writer from Ashtabula.
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