Reservoir left little doubt early in its match against visiting Hammond on Thursday that it was ready to put on a show.
The Gators came out firing and scored the first 14 points of the opening set, which it went on to win easily, 25-5, and then held off a much more competitive Golden Bears team in the next two sets to win in a sweep, 25-5, 25-18, 25-21, to improve to 4-5 in county and 7-5 overall.
“We were ready to go,” said Reservoir first-year coach Amy Harvey, a 2013 graduate of the school.
The Gators did it all in the first set but their serving carried them to a 1-0 lead. They had seven aces, including five from Tatiana Hamilton in the first 12 points, and another ace from sophomore Kayla Browne put them up 20-2.
Reservoir has had a recent string of tall, imposing middle blockers, from current Boston College standout Amaka Chukwujekwu to last year’s duo Pam Chukwujekwu and Enitan Omolewa, and Browne is next in line. She led the Gators with nine kills, while junior Kellie Minnick had six and senior outside hitter and four-year starter Sydney Allen had five kills and four aces.
“[Browne] is very, very strong, and she’s consistent,” Harvey said. “She had her 100th kills [of the season] today. We’re on the right track, and she’s only a sophomore. There’s more to come.”
Reservoir started strong again in the second set and took a 5-1 lead, but the Golden Bears (1-8, 4-9) battled back and pushed the Gators the rest of the way. Three consecutive aces from Hammond’s Abbie Weirich tied the score at five, but it never managed to take the lead. Instead, the Gators answered each rally with one of their own, and six kills and two aces in the span of 11 points gave them a 14-9 advantage. Soon after, they pulled away and held off one last Golden Bears push to take a two set lead.
Reservoir’s overpowering serving returned early in the third set, as three straight aces from Allen and two more by Browne made it 10-2. Just like the second set, Hammond found its resolve and rallied. It won eight of the next nine points to cut the Gators’ lead to one and then tied the score at 12.
The point to give the Golden Bears their first lead of the match never came, though. Reservoir steadily increased its lead and Allen’s final ace made it 19-14. The match ended soon after.
Despite their eighth loss in their last nine games, Golden Bears coach Anne Corey said her team hasn’t shown any quit this season, and they showed that on Thursday by bouncing back from a poor first set.
“We’ve been talking about communicating better and with more effectiveness throughout the season and tonight I asked them to turn that back on and have some smarter plays and talk to each other more, and they did that, which was awesome,” she said.
Weirich had three aces and 17 digs, Jordan Kreh six kills and Hannah Gorel had 12 assists and eight digs for Hammond.