Mount de Sales avenged its only loss of the season on Friday night when the visiting No. 7 ranked Sailors (11-1) defeated Maryvale Prep (12-4), 25-22, 20-25, 25-17, 25-19.
It was Dig Pink night at Maryvale to raise money and support during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Sophomore setter Kelsey Miller was stellar on the service line with a match-high eight aces and she spread the hitting wealth to the consistent trio of outside hitters Mary Grace Goyena (18 kills) and Abby Kuhn (eight kills) and middle hitter Chidinma Onukwugha (13 kills).
“Once we start getting ahead I like to mix it up,” said Miller, who had some extra adrenaline flowing for this match. “This team beat us on our homecoming day, so I feel like we had a drive to get them.”
Keeping everybody involved was just what Mount de Sales coach Pat Dayton expected.
“That’s been the plan all year. Everybody works hard and with the people I have in the front row we trust everybody with ball, I think that’s what sets us apart,” Dayton said. “We don’t rely on just one player. We try to get everyone involved.”
Slowing down Maryvale’s top hitter Claire Neff was another goal for the coach.
“We knew we had to get our defensive digs against their good hitter, Claire,” he said. “She was going to get her kills, but we just had to get a couple stops.”
Neff, a junior, finished with 18 kills and freshman Caitlin Shaffrey added five for the Lions.
“She (Clare) is amazing and I don’t think a lot of people give her enough credit,” Maryvale coach Missy Little said.
Neff had four kills in the first two sets and seven in the fourth.
Serving and passing was the difference in the first set as Maryvale had five missed serves and the Sailors had four aces and forced serve receive errors.
“They played really well, but tonight we had too many missed serves and we just lost our focus and we weren’t passing as well as we could have been passing,”Little said.
Maryvale did rally from a 21-16 deficit to take a 22-21 lead in the first set on an ace by setter Sophia Savick.
Savick had two aces and Neff had two kills during the run that ended with a kill by Goyena that tied the score 22-all.
With Malina Beideman on the service line, the Sailors won the next three points and the set.
The first came on a serve-receive error, Onukwugha’s block secured the next point and a Maryvale hitting error ended the set.
The Lions rallied in the second set, thanks to a strong start with Shaffey on the service line.
They won the first five points and built a 12-7 lead before a kill from Onukwugha started a 4-point run.
Kuhn’ s kill and a pair of aces, on dancing floaters by Miller ,cut it to 12-11.
A tip by Onukwugha tied the set at 19-19, but a service error gave the Lions the side out and they closed the match with five of the final six points.
Shaffrey had two kills during the run.
Behind a pair of aces from Kayla Koch, the Lions raced to an 8-3 lead in the third set, but the Sailors rallied behind the serving of Miller who was on the line for seven straight points when she delivered three aces when the Sailors took a 13-9 lead.
Maryvale never got closer than two points the rest of the way.
Grace Jennings started serving in the final set and when she gave up the ball the Sailors led 7-0.
The Lions pulled within three points, 20-17, on a kill by Neff, but the Sailors ended it with five of the next seven points with Goyena getting a pair of aces during the run.
The match ended with Onukwugha sliding behind Miller for a back set from the outside.
“I told Chidinma, since it was 24-18, let’s end it on a slide,” Miller said.
Dayton had no problem with that.
“They’ve been playing together so long, they just kind of do their thing and I just let them do it and it works,” he said.
Marvale coach Little would just like to get a rubber match with the Sailors.
“They are a great team and I hope we see them in the championships, that would be my goal,” Little said.