Warren volleyball clinches share of Region title with win over GM
Trailing 23-22 in the third set against General McLane, Warren volleyball coach Mike Dolan took a timeout and gathered his team.
What he saw was emblematic of how the Dragons have approached each match this season. Focused and with a confidence in their ability to win any match at any time.
Warren came out of the timeout and immediately tied the set, fell behind and rallied to win it, 26-24, to complete a sweep of the Lancers in the Joseph A. Massa gymnasium Tuesday.
With the win, Warren clinched at least a share of the Region 6 title. They can win it outright with a win over Villa next Tuesday.
“They seemed focused,” Dolan said. “They came out (of the timeout) and turned a switch.”
The Dragons (11-0 overall, 8-0 Region 6) needed to turn that switch early in the match as well. Though they got out to a quick 4-1 lead over the Lancers (5-5, 3-5), McLane was able to comeback and take a 6-5 lead. The rally was in large part to Warren not being as sharp in running its offense as it has for the bulk of the season. Trailing 9-8, the Dragons began to put things together and went on an 8-1 run to take a 16-10 lead. There was no looking back from that point and Warren went on to take the first set, 25-14.
“We weren’t as crisp in the beginning of the match,” Dolan said. “But we weathered the storm.”
The Dragons carried that momentum into the second. They jumped out to an 8-2 lead to start. The Lancers tried to claw their way back in it, but Warren didn’t allow them to make any sustained runs. GM got to within five at 17-12, but Warren ended with an 8-3 run to win it 25-15.
It looked as though the Dragons would cruise to a sweep, jumping out to 4-2 and 8-4 leads to start the third. McLane pulled to 10-9, but Warren answered with a 4-0 run. The Lancers refused to give in and kept chipping away at the Dragons lead. They got to within one again at 20-19, then tied the set at 21-21. McLane took its first lead at 23-22, prompting Dolan to take the timeout.
“General McLane played some really good defense in the third,” Dolan said. “We’ve got to keep attacking.”
An aggressive swing from Celia Chase tied the match at 23. The Lancers came right back to get set point at 24-23, but Julia Lobdell got a timely dig to keep the Dragons in it.
“Those plays gave us the confidence we needed,” Dolan said.
Chase and Lydia Latimer shared the team lead with 11 kills apiece. Latimer added four blocks and nine digs, while Chase had 15 digs. Ellie Lobdell had 10 kills, two blocks and 15 digs, Julia Lobdell came up with 12 digs and Lex Nyquist had 10 digs and 34 assists.
Jordan Sitler had just one block and one dig, but added six kills, hit 54.5 percent, with many of the kills coming in key spots. Dolan said the improvement he’s seen from year 1 to year 2 for his sophomore middle hitter has been significant.
“It was huge for us to get her as much playing time (as a freshman) as we did,” he said. “Her development has just accelerated. She’s a different player now. She’s swinging more aggressively and is more physical with her blocks.”
The Dragons take a break from region play when they travel to North East (6-5, 5-1 Region 5) Thursday.
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JV: Warren 2, General McLane 0
Warren won the junior varsity match 26-24 and 25-20.
Katie Madigan (18 assists), Hannah Shattuck (6 kills), Jackie Peterson (3 kills), Ellee Irwin (2 kills), Olivia English (2 kills) and Jayna Baldensperger (2 kills) all played well in the win.
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BRADFORD 3, SHEFFIELD 0
Bradford was able to string significant runs together in each set and rolled to a 25-10, 25-8 and 25-12 sweep over Sheffield Tuesday.
The Owls scored runs of 11, six and 16 points over their hosts in the first, second and third sets, respectively.
“We continue to give up huge point runs,” Sheffield coach Melissa Lemay said. “We were leading in the third game, then allowed them to score 16 straight points.”
Bradford’s aggressive swings foiled the Wolverines all night. Sheffield was only able to get a single block for the match.
“You can’t do that against teams like Bradford that are aggressive swingers,” Lemay said. “That leaves our back row scrambling to make plays.”
Lynzie Grubbs had six of the Wolverines’ 11 kills in the match.
“Lynzie continues to progress with more aggressive swings and net play,” Lemay said.
Marissa Grubbs had 11 digs, while Annabel Sheldon added 10 digs in the loss. Emily Leichtenberger had seven service points and Megan Johnson had 10 assists.
The Wolverines head to St. Mary’s Thursday hoping to rebound.
“We need to do whatever is necessary in practice and in matches to finish this season as strong as possible,” Lemay said.
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JV: Sheffield 2, Bradford 0
Sheffield won the junior varsity match 25-22 and 25-23.
Sheldon had seven service points with four aces, and Ana McCracken had five service points in the win.