It took just an hour for the Avon Lake volleyball team to dispatch 12-seed Lorain in its Oct. 15 Sectional semifinal at Midview High School.
In the 5th-seeded Shoregals' 25-13, 25-5, 25-14 victory, senior middle hitter Jackie Loper was unstoppable. Leading her team with a season-high 15 kills and three aces, Loper said she didn’t expect to get this many opportunities on offense.
“I thank my team for everything they did for me because without them, I wouldn’t have been able to get those kills,” Loper said. “It’s so nice (to get this win). It gives me so much confidence going forward.”
A majority of Loper’s kills came off the hands of Brooke Lumpkin. The junior totaled 26 assists. Loper’s kill total also out-ranked the entire Lorain team’s total (13 kills).
In the second set, Loper and the Shoregals 14-consecutive points to win the set, all with Loper on serve.
“Jackie played really well tonight,” Avon Lake coach Dan Berkheimer said. “She’s been able to play both middle and outside for us and it’s been really important for us. I thought we were passing the ball well, so it didn’t have to go outside. Jackie was running a lot of quicks from the outside position, inside.”
Berkheimer also praised his back line for getting the ball where it needed to be throughout the match. Despite the lopsided victory, Berkheimer acknowledged that his team came out a little flat to start the match.
“I told the girls, I thought we were efficient with what we did, we didn’t make a lot of errors,” Berkheimer said. “I think, the first set, we talked a lot about not being mentally up to game-speed. I thought after that, they started getting mentally up to game speed and played a lot better.”
Part of the reason Loper was so involved in the offense was due to a nagging injury to fellow senior Abby Kirk that kept her out of the match.
Berkheimer and the Shoregals will have to hope for another dominant performance Thursday when they square off the 4th-seed Olmsted Falls Bulldogs. In the teams’ two prior meetings this season, Olmsted Falls won the first in four sets and the second in three.
“We’ve had some battles with them this year,” Berkheimer said. “And I hope to battle again on Thursday.”
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