win over Eagles
By Matt Pawlikowski
Published Sept. 5, 2007
outside hitter Jessica Roff was part of some strong net play
by her team. Here the junior nails down a North Olmsted serve
as Coletta Carmichael (15) Heather Pyle, (white shirt) and Hanna
Dixon ready themselves for a return. (West Life photo by Larry
Call it the backyard rivalry, call it what you’d like.
One thing though is certain. When North Olmsted and Westlake take
to the court, it’s sure to be a battle royal. This year was no different
in a match that took nearly two and a half hours to complete.
The Eagles breezed
to a 25-17 win in the first game, but it was all Westlake after
that, as the Demons won the next three games 25-18, 25-19, and 25-19.
“We played exactly as we had to play,” said Westlake
coach Dan Berkhiemer. “As you can see, we are short; my middles
are around 5-foot-6, but we played great team defense, and I think
our setters are really coming around and doing a great job of getting
the ball to our hitters. I’m really proud of them.”
With the win,
Westlake is now 3-1, 1-1 Southwestern Conference.
Last year, en-route
to their third place finish in the SWC, the Eagles swept the season
series with the Demons and for a while, it appeared they had the
momentum to take the first match of the year between the two rivals.
But in the second
game after tying things at 2-2, it was pretty much all Demons the
rest of the way. North Olmsted did battle back in game two behind
the efforts of Ashley Dancik, and after being down 24-12, closed
the gap to 24-17. The Demons’ net play and defense proved too tough,
and North Olmsted couldn’t lock things up.
Game three was
similar, as things were knotted up early at 3-3, but Westlake, behind
the serves of Jen Wolf, was able to stymie the Eagles, setting up
game four, which went to the Demons, despite being nip-and-tuck
was inspirational to her Westlake teammates, and it seemed every
time she was serving the team had a rally. For the night, the senior
captain had 30 digs along with 14 points and four aces.
“I don’t know
what it is; I think maybe because I’m the only senior on the team
that a lot of people look up to me to get it done,” Pyle said with
a huge smile on her face. “I’m not the loudest person out there,
but when I get pumped up the other people do too.”
A prime example
of that came in the final game of the night, with her team down
8-5. With Pyle serving the ball, the Demons would tie things up
and never really look back.
game was huge for us,” said Pyle. “Last year we lost both games
to them; they had a couple of inches height advantage on us, but
I’m so happy right now. We all came together as a team.”
to the win was the serves Wolf made in the third game. After Berkheimer
sat her down in the second game, she game back with a vengeance.
Wolf also ended the night with 10 kills in the game.
in game two, was I sat her down on the bench and told her I know
you can hit the serve harder,” said Berkheimer. “I told her to go
after it, and she did exactly that, and you saw what happened; they
were having trouble with her serves.”
had 11 assists for the Demons, while Coletta Carmichael added ten.
Hanna Dixon, who played great defense for Westlake and was all over
the court, had three kills and a key block.
after the contest, North Olmsted coach Jason Krucek wasn’t happy
with the outcome.
“We had a lot
of errors out there tonight,” said Krucek. “And that really killed
us. We only have three returning players from last year, so they
are still trying to learn and it will take time. Tonight we let
a game get away, and it was frustrating.”
way for the Eagles was Liga Strautniece, who was 19 of 19 serving,
including an ace. Bridget Connolly also played a great game at the
Libro slot for the Eagles with her 19 digs. Amanda Balasko had 12
kills, while Kim Bulcroft had six blocks.
was 60 of 72 in setting and also had 25 assists for the Eagles,
yet despite those stats, the Eagles saw their record drop to 1-1
in the SWC.
“I told them
after that every game in the SWC is huge, and that every game which
is not against last year’s top two teams you have to pull out,”
said Krucek. “Hopefully against Olmsted Falls and Amherst we can
get a win and be right up there. Tonight, we just gave ourselves
a loss that we didn’t need to have on the record.”