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Sheffield drops opener to Johnsonburg

Sheffield’s Tori Childress (16) goes up for a block against Johnsonburg’s Jenna Morgan (18) during the second set of their match at Sheffield High School, Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019. Morgan and the Lady Rams came away with a season-opening sweep of Childress and the Lady Wolverines.

An often-used cliche in sports following a loss is, “we beat ourselves.”

That was literally true for the Sheffield volleyball team in a 3-0 loss to visiting Johnsonburg Tuesday. Of the 75 points the Lady Rams needed to beat the Lady Wolverines, 37 came in the form of unforced errors.

“We gave them half of the

points they needed to win,” Sheffield coach Melissa Lemay said. “They’re disappointed in the way they played. That’s not reflective of how they’ve practiced and scrimmaged.”

Sheffield (1-0) came out aggressively to start the match and jumped out to a 6-3 lead in the first. Johnsonburg (1-0) came back to tie the set at 10-10, then went on a 4-0 run to take control. The Lady Wolverines battled, but the Lady Rams held on for a 25-19 win.

The second set was played about as evenly as could be through the first 12 points. The teams traded points to a 6-6 tie before Johnsonburg went on a 6-0 run. After a pair of traded points, the Lady Rams went on another 6-0 run to put the set out of reach.

Teammates and opponents await Marissa Grubbs’ (9) serve for Sheffield during the first set of a match against Johnsonburg at Sheffield High School, Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019. The Lady Rams swept the Lady Wolverines.

“There was something about that (Rams) rotation,” Lemay said. “We have to read the serve. I keep telling the girls you play with your eyes as much as your body.”

Sheffield actually closed the second with an 8-5 advantage in the 25-16 loss, but were unable to carry that momentum into the third.

Johnsonburg took control early and raced out to a 9-2 lead. Sheffield got back to 9-5, but Johnsonburg was relentless in building a 19-9 advantage. The Lady Rams completed the sweep with a 25-17 win.

Attacking was a major issue all match as Sheffield had 17 attack errors and only 14 kills.

“We have to minimize our mistakes,” Lemay said. “Service errors, set errors and attack errors, that’s all on us.”

Emily Leichtenberger had four kills and six service points to lead the Lady Wolverines attack. Megan Johnson had 12 assists and Marissa Grubbs added 13 digs.

Sheffield will only have a day to work on fixing those mistakes before facing another tough challenge when Bradford comes to the Ralph Santo gymnasium Thursday.

“At the end of the day, this means nothing. It’s a loss,” Lemay said. “We have to fix the mistakes at practice tomorrow to be better Thursday.”

Johnsonburg won the junior varsity match 25-21 and 25-22.

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