The Comets netted a conference win in three sets Tuesday at North Ridgeville, thriving even when challenged by a vigorous Rangers offense in game two.
“I told the kids after the second game we’re going to throw the score out because we still played well,” said Amherst coach Laurie Cogan. “What we have to focus on is our level of play because it’s such an easy game to have points scored on you, it’s not always a reflection of your level of play. We played solid volleyball in sets one and two and that’s what we needed to do in set three. And, they did.”
“Our young kids are starting to get into the groove. They’re starting to step up. I think you can see some level of maturity in their level of play from the beginning of the season until now,” she added.
In the first game, Ashley Makruski racked up seven kills and an ace. North Ridgeville had some success in blocking or receiving her shots but found there were other Comets who could score as well.
Tory Small had a pair of kills and a block point, Alana Carrion had a kill and block point, and Symone Williams and London Voss chipped in with kills and at defense.
The team had 13 kills in the set with a bonus of two aces by Madison Cruzado for a 25-13 win.
The next game is difficult to analyze. Amherst continued to play consistently. Makruski hit for seven more points, Small bagged three, Williams made a kill and a point by block, Sarah Wiegand tapped a kill and Carrion had four blocks, one for a point.
The skilled Rangers were led by Jami Turay and Addyson Kerr, who had three kills each. North Ridgeville stayed even with Amherst until eight-all, when the Lady Comets slowly pulled ahead for a 25-20 finish.
Once again, Cruzado served up a pair of aces and sophomore Erika Eishen added another.
Game three was mirror of the first two.
Makruski hit for five, Small for four, and Carrion and Sarah Farley for two. Small, Farley and Carrion also scored on blocks.
The outstanding feature of this game was the serving of junior Shannon Minney, who nailed the first seven points with aces before the Rangers could get a side out.
“Shannon Minney came off the bench in the third set and was just phenomenal. She came off serving tough. Her defense was just lights out,” said Cogan.
“I think a lot of times the strength of a team has a lot to do with the strength of their bench. I have a very strong bench, so I can mix and match when I put in lineups. To have someone like Shannon Minney come off the bench shows a lot about how strong our defense is overall.”
Cruzado served up the next six points and her fifth ace.
The third game ended 25-10, moving the Comets to 9-3 and 8-1 in the SWC.
Ashley Makruski ended the game with 19 kills. She also made numerous digs and passes to assist others in scoring.
The Comets take on Midview on Thursday. The two teams’ first SWC match went to Amherst 3-1.
Carl Sullenberger can be reached at email@example.com.
Photos by Carl Sullenberger | Amherst News-Times Ashley Makruski puts the hammer into another of her 19 kills Tuesday against North Ridgeville. The Comets defeated the Rangers 3-1 in Southwestern Conference play to extend their record to 9-3 and 8-1 in conference.