A volleyball team prone to slow starts, the Magnificat Blue Streaks dropped the first set of a non-league match at Avon Lake last Thursday, 25-21.
A volleyball team also prone to hot streaks, however, those same Blue Streaks exploded after that, winning the next three over the Shoregals in convincing fashion to take the match, 25-10, 25-9, 25-14.
“It was our energy,” Blue streaks coach Megan Green said. “We have to figure out why we start slow in that first set. But once we got rolling and once we got the energy going, it was (a much better match).”
The Shoregals (2-5) came out determined against the Blue Streaks (3-4) taking an early 2-0 lead and increasing it to as many as eight points at 16-8. Late kills by Corey Kronekar and Aubrey Kirk, as well as a block-kill by Madison Olinger salted the set away and put Magnificat in an early hole.
Then, the Blue Streaks woke up.
They opened the second set with five straight points, and used a combination of big hits and Shoregal misfires to build a big lead. Up 19-10, they scored the final six points to seal the set victory.
The third set was even more of a statement, with team captain Cadence Shea putting on a show. As her team’s server, the junior helped score 14 straight points–including four aces–and also recorded two kills as the Blue Streaks rolled to a 2-1 advantage.
By Shea’s recollection, it was the most consecutive serves she’d made in a match since middle school.
“I just went back there and just cranked it and hoped for the best,” Shea said.
In the fourth set, the combination of Shea (four kills, one ace) and senior Kaci Barrett (three kills) proved too much for the Shoregals to overcome. Though the hosts pulled to within three points, 14-11, Magnificat outscored them 11-3 down the stretch to secure the 3-1 win.
For the match, Shea led the Blue Streaks with 13 kills, 2.5 blocks and six aces, Barrett finished with nine kills, Sophia Anghilante had seven kills and 2.5 blocks, and sophomore Lauren Yacobucci showed court-sense beyond her years, setting up her teammates with 35 assists.
“After that first game our passing definitely picked up, and we definitely played with a lot more intensity and showed we really wanted to win,” Shea said of the early turnaround. “Everything on the floor started clicking and it felt really great.”
The strong start was an encouraging sign for Shoregals coach Dan Berkheimer, who knew a time-tested program like Magnificats would present a helpful early-season challenge. Prior to the start of the season at the end of August, his team had only one scrimmage, and had an early-season schedule stocked full with tough opponents, including Avon, Brunswick and Amherst.
On the night, Kronekar led her team with 11 kills, Olinger had four blocks, Kai Rybarczyk had 22 digs and Emma Knick set 28 assists.
“Cadence Shea and her serve (were the big difference tonight),” Berkheimer said. “She’s a big, strong athlete and she served at her locations. And we just couldn’t respond. And when we did start to respond it was too late. But I was proud of our effort. The girls showed a lot of effort and I thought our blocking was pretty good tonight.”
Magnificat will return to the court this Thursday at Independence at 6:30 p.m., while Avon Lake will host North Olmsted, also at 6:30 p.m.
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