Lady Trojan spikers serve 21 aces in 3-0 victory
Good service and momentum are crucial elements to a volleyball team's success.
Going into Wednesday's home game against New Fairfield, Weston felt it had momentum because it learned a lot from its losses to the top teams in the SWC. Weston also had arguably its best serving matches of the season with 21 aces in its 3-0 (25-13, 25-16, 25-13) victory over New Fairfield.
"We've been working very hard," Lady Trojans coach Jamie Charles said. "The matches we lost were close, frustrating matches against the best teams. All those losses helped make us a better team."
Weston raised its record to 4-7, 4-4 in the SWC. The Lady Rebels dropped to 6-5, 3-4.
"I never planned on it," said Charles, who thought the match would be a lot tougher. "I knew they were a tough team."
In the opening moments, it looked like Charles had a battle on her hands when New Fairfield junior Michelle Cremonini (five service points, three aces, three kills, two digs, 12 assists) opened the match with two service aces. But it turned out that Charles had nothing to worry about.
Senior co-captain Jessy Gersh set up junior Fran Holmes' (three kills, one assist, eight digs, two blocks, three service points, one ace) kill to force a sideout and follows with two service points to give Weston a 3-2 lead. The Lady Rebels didn't quite go away and took a 7-4 lead. Their last lead in the game was 8-7 and the Lady Trojans took the lead for good at 11-10 when Gersh set up junior Savannah Carpenter's kill.
Carpenter (11 kills, four digs, nine service points, six aces) then put the game away with six straight service points, three aces. Moreover, she made New Fairfield look hapless in the way she served to them.
"I was really focused on hitting my spots and it really panned out," Carpenter said. "Normally, the coach tells me what spot to serve it too and normally, I see where the libero is, and I serve it away from her. I also look to see where their weakest passer is and I aim to serve where she is."
Gersh (15 service points, eight aces, two kills, 15 assists, nine digs) delivered four straight points, three aces to further break it open, 23-12.
More InformationFact box
"Definitely, it comes from practice," Gersh said. "We've been working on our serves a lot and as coach says to us, the serve is the only thing we can control."
It was only apropos that the game ended on senior co-captain Lili Clement's service ace.
In the second game, New Fairfield took an 8-5 lead. Clement's hit forced a sideout, which set the stage for Carpenter, who served three straight aces to give Weston a 9-8 lead, and she made it look easy. A Lady Rebel hitting error gave the Lady Trojans the lead for good, 12-11.
Weston broke it open with Gersh and Clement serving four straight points each to go up 21-13. Carpenter clinched two of Clement's points by swatting home kills off returns with force. The game ended with Carpenter slamming a kill off a return on junior Sydney Weiss' (three service points, one ace) serve.
"Everybody has been telling me to work on my jumping and the only thing I focused on was jumping as high as I could," jumping as high as I could," Carpenter said. "People noticed how high I jumped and it worked."
Clement (15 service points, four aces, seven kills, one block, 10 digs) also set the tone with two diving plays in which she robbed New Fairfield of kills. She said, "Coach always tells us to stand on our toes and in order to defend a middle hitter, we have to cheat in."
Gersh deftly set up the offense. She said, "We work on where we set. We work on quick sets, and with Savannah outside, we work on quick shoots."
Weston dominated the third game and took a 19-4 with Gersh serving seven straight points, four aces, to make it 8-0 and Clement served six straight to make it 15-1 with Carpenter pounding home three kills during the rally.
"We made a lot of service errors in games we lost and made them more accountable in practice," Charles said. "This game is all about momentum, they made mistakes and it led to more mistakes on their end."
Morgan Murray (four digs, one service point), Taylor Swanson (two assists, two service points, one ace, one dig, one block) and Anna Hengelbrok (one kill, one block, one assist, one dig) also contributed.
"It's a good win for us and they are a good team," Gersh said. "We worked a lot in practice and everything clicked tonight."
Clement said, "It's a good win. We've been working hard in practice and a major part [of the team's success] is how we came together and play as more as a team than as individuals."