Bay junior Avery Rion (center) reacts after scoring a point during a Sept. 1 match against Buckeye.

Consistency was lacking Sept. 1 for the Bay Rockets volleyball team in a Great Lakes Conference match against visiting Buckeye.

The Rockets dropped the first two sets to the Bucks by close margins, dominated the third, then succumbed to the Bucks’ big hitters in the fourth to ultimately lose, 3-1.

It was Bay’s (3-1, 2-1 GLC) first loss of the young season, as well as the first to the Bucks (3-1, 3-1) since the latter joined the conference in 2019. Set scores were 25-20, 26-24, 14-25 and 25-21 in favor of Buckeye.

“We came out in the third set, and that’s the team I know and love,” Rockets coach Katie McCarthy said of her team’s lone victory on the night. “That’s the way we can play all the time. We just have to do it to win the match.”

Before hitting their stride in the middle of the match, the Rockets first had to face a bout of inconsistency. They led 11-9 at one point in the first set, but Buckeye’s combination of tall, powerful hitters like junior Autumn Meyer and senior Kamiah Gibson made scoring a challenge. The Bucks closed the set on a 9-4 run to win.

The Bucks followed by narrowly winning the second set, though the Rockets started to find a groove. The visitors led 12-4 early on, and maintained a tight advantage until the Rockets were able to tie the score at 18 on a Stephanie Laraway kill, and again at 22 on a Brooke Brewer ace. Bay briefly took a 24-23 lead, but was unable to close as the Bucks scored three points in a row to win.

The spirited second frame boosted the Rockets, who used an early 6-0 run to build a 9-3 lead and only increased it, their 25-14 victory making for the most lopsided of the night.

“The energy changed (in the second set),” McCarthy said. “They kind of woke up. We have a lot of passion and a lot of fight, and it always comes out. It usually comes out when we need it to, but just didn’t when we needed to close out that second set.”

There were eight lead changes in the fourth set until the Bucks put together a 7-0 run to take an 18-12 lead. The Rockets were able to pull within two late, 23-21, but the Bucks scored twice in a row to seal the match.

“We powered through,” Bucks assistant coach Maggie Calame-Auth said. “I think we outsmarted (Bay) in some parts. We were looking to mix it up. We hit one, we tip one, and we try to minimize our errors.”

Gibson led the Bucks with 39 assists and seven kills. Sydney Bell had 10 kills, and the trio of Lexie Anzevino, Kara Sexton and Meyer each had nine kills.

Bay junior Avery Tenerowicz finished with 22 assists, 10 digs and two aces. Lauren Maxwell and Laraway each recorded 11 kills, and Brewer had 20 digs, six kills and three assists to help pace the team’s effort.

The Rockets will return to their home gym this Thursday for a match with GLC newcomer Lakewood. Varsity is set to begin at 6:30 p.m.

Contact this reporter at sports@westlifenews.com or 440-871-5797.

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