Duffy lifts Bethel over Lady Trojan spikers
Mistakes and momentum shifts cost the Weston girls volleyball team Monday.
Weston had 17 service errors overall, nine in the first game in its home-opener loss to Bethel.
Bethel's 6-3 senior middle hitter Madison Duffy (22 kills, six blocks, eight digs, eight service points and three aces) also hurt the Lady Trojans. Once Duffy got going, she was unstoppable in lifting the Lady Wildcats to a 3-1 (23-25, 26-24, 25-20, 25-20) victory and spoiling Weston's (0-3) home-opener while raising Bethel's record to 1-2.
In the first two games, the Lady Trojans looked like they were poised to garner their first win. Despite making nine service errors in Game 1, Weston was able to overcome Bethel and pull out the win.
Lady Trojan senior co-captain Jessy Gersh (six service points, one ace, 10 assists, 11 digs) broke a team-service slump with five straight points to give the hosts a 14-8 lead. Weston's lead in the opening game peaked at seven, 17-10 behind the hitting of junior Savannah Carpenter (seven kills, two blocks, 10 service points, four aces, seven digs).
Senior co-captain Lili Clement (eight kills, four digs, five service points, three aces) helped Weston with basketball-style passes for kills and classmate Morgan Murray (three service points, two aces, five digs) added three service points to give the Lady Trojans a 24-19 lead.
Lady Wildcat junior Molly Nichols served three points to make it 24-23 and was aided by two Duffy blocks. However, a Duffy net violation ended the game.
Weston jumped out to an 8-2 lead in the second game behind the serving of junior Sydney Weiss (six service points, two aces). Weiss served five points in this surge.
Bethel slowly crept back in and took a 15-13 behind a balanced attack with junior Emily DeFazio delivering two kills and then serving six straight points. Classmates Nicole Cibu (14 digs) and Brooke Ferraro helped defensively and Duffy added two kills and two blocks in the rally.
Clement's service ace tied it 15-15 and the Lady Trojans ultimately took a 23-20 lead with Clement delivering a kill on Carpenter's serve. Nichols (nine kills, three blocks) prevented Carpenter from gaining momentum with a kill and junior Shannon Ryan tied it 23-23 with two service points. Weston took a 24-23 lead on a passing error but Cibu prevented a kill to preserve a point, which led to Nichols' game-tying kill. Duffy then pounded home a kill at the net on Ferraro's serve and Gersh's hitting error clinched the game.
"It's a game of momentum," Lady Trojans coach Jamie Charles said. "If we won the second game, we would have gone into the third game with more enthusiasm and energy."
Ferraro opened the third game with four service points, starting with Duffy's authoritative kill at the net. After Ferraro's foot fault ended her service rally, Duffy got it back with a kill.
This set up DeFazio (23 service points, seven aces, 10 digs), who reeled off 11 straight service points, five aces, to break the game open and give the Lady Wildcats a 16-1 lead.
"Nerves were a factor and you can tell there's a drop of confidence when you are down 16-1," Charles said. "Consistency is always an issue."
Weston slowly crept back in and cut it to 24-20 on two Clement aces but she was wide on the final point. Carpenter also did what she could to lead the rally with her hitting and defense.
"I was really pumped up and it pushed me to hit the ball as hard as I could," Carpenter said. "If we missed a point, I got angry and it pushed me to hit it even harder."
Bethel took a 9-2 lead in the fourth game behind the serves of DeFazio and Cibu and Duffy's dominance at the net. Carpenter had five straight points, including three consecutive aces to pull the Lady Trojans within three, 23-20.
"I tuned everyone out and I focused on myself and where the ball had to go," Carpenter said.
Nichols ended the surge with a kill and the match with a block on Ryan's serve.
Juniors Taylor Swanson (six assists, six service points, 13 digs), Fran Holmes (two kills, three assists, one block, seven digs) and Anna Hengelbrok (one kill, two assists, four blocks) also contributed for Weston.
Despite a slow start against three of the better SWC teams, Charles believes this rocky start will lead to future dividends.
"It's good to play the good teams in the beginning of the season because it makes us a better team," Charles said. "It helps us work out our kinks and be strong."