|T-Birds wear down Blue Jays at the net|
|Thursday, September 05, 2013 12:08 AM|
By JIM METCALFE
DELPHOS — First-year St. John’s volleyball coach Carolyn Dammeyer is trying to build the program into a consistent unit year after year.
Lima Central Catholic is one of those programs she would like to emulate.
The Lady Blue Jays learned up close and personal how far they have to go as they fell 25-21, 25-18, 25-12 Wednesday night at Robert A. Arnzen Gymnasium.
“LCC always seems to have a solid team. They have a lot of weapons and they force you to defend them,” Dammeyer said. “We need to build consistency. We have a lot of new girls on the varsity and they need to learn how to play at this level from the first point to the last. Teams like LCC have those veteran players that know how to do that; we only had two players back from last year that really experienced varsity last fall, so we’re learning.”
Thunderbird head man Wes Horstman relied on that.
“We played five matches in five days, so we were a little tired coming into the match tonight. Plus, St. John’s came out fired up,” he added. “It took us a while to get things rolling. We depend a lot on our setter and we have an experienced one in Sydney (Mohler); this is her second year of starting, so she knows how to spread the ball around. We don’t have the one great player but we have a lot of good hitters, so that just wears a defense down. I think that’s what happened as we went on.”
In the first two sets, the Jays (1-4) battled on relatively even terms,
In the first set, the Jays stayed close behind a solid defense and not many errors (17 hitting miscues overall). They did a nice job of keeping the ball in play, getting touches at the net and digging up the Lady Thunderbird (4-3) hitting efforts. The visitors led 18-12 at one point on an ace by senior setter Mohler (27 assists, 2 aces) but the Jays ran off a 6-2 span — fueled by some LCC hitting errors (16 for the night) — to get within 20-18 on a push by junior Bekah Fischer (3 kills, 2 aces). Unfortunately, a stuff by Fischer to get within a point was ruled to be in the net and the T-Birds ran off the set, getting a serving error (9 for the night) on set point by the Jays.
The second set went the same way as the opener. The Jays couldn’t quite get on a roll but they didn’t let the visitors do so, either. LCC led 18-13 on a hit off the defense by Sydney Zerante (7 kills) and the Jays couldn’t get closer. They did get within 19-16 as sophomore Hayley Jettinghoff put down a hit off the block but a crucial 5-0 spurt — four on hitting miscues by the hosts and the final on an ace by Meredith Niese (3 aces) — put the visitors on the verge of a 2-0 set lead. A hitting error and a kill by junior Kestley Hulihan only delayed the inevitable. On set point, another serving error gave LCC the 2-set edge.
The Jays remained competitive to start the third set, leading 4-2 at one point early on a hit off the LCC block by junior Brittney Claypool (3 kills). However, a hitting error got the visitors on the road back and slowly but surely — combining some hitting mistakes by the home unit and a varied attack at the net that Mohler could turn to — they began to put the finishing touches on the sweep. Despite Dammeyer calling a pair of timeouts, LCC had too much as they secured the sweep on the ninth serving error by the Blue and Gold.
“We have come a long way in the three months I have had these girls, from the first open gym to now. They have worked hard and they have a great attitude,” Dammeyer added. “We celebrate every point and have a lot of positive things going. The chemistry I have with these girls is great, so the transition has been fantastic. We just have to keep getting better.”
The Jays host New Knoxville in MAC play tonight (5:30 p.m. junior varsity start).
LCC plays Lima Senior in an Elida tri-match 1 p.m. Saturday.
The Thunderbirds got a 25-15, 25-23 junior varsity triumph.