The 9th Graders opened up their season with a bang as they dispatched the Highlanders by a 25-10, 25-16 tally to open up the season with a win. Mira Oberoi started the season by serving the first point of the campaign. With the score 1-1, Molly Davies followed up with a 4-0 service run that had the Top up 6-2. A quick service break had the Maroon and White back on serve at 7-2 and Caroline Henry rattled off another 4-0 run and Summit looked in control with an 11-3 lead. The Highlanders cut the lead down to 12-6 but then Juliana Alicea took to the service line and ended the slim GL hopes with a blistering 11-0 run that had Summit up 23-7 and effectively ended the set as the Top closed it out with a 25-10 score.
The 2nd set was more of the same although the Highlanders did provide more of a fight and pushed the squad throughout the set. GL fought hard through 6 rotations and held an 11-9 lead going to rotation 7. But Henry stepped up again and delivered another 4-0 run that saw the Hilltoppers take a 14-13 lead. Despite a break in serve, Allish Gutshall was soon called upon to make an impact from the service line and so she did with a 3-0 run that opened up an 18-13 lead that calmed Summit’s nerves. Mariana Porsse then provided a 4-0 service run that all but wiped out any GL hopes and got the Hilltoppers to a 23-14 lead. The set and match were soon over as the Top notched their first victory of the year by a 25-16 score.
Junior Varsity had spurts of great play but just could not handle the service attack of the GL serving machine and despite hurting the Highlanders with their own serving, Summit just could not overcome the hole they had dug in set 1 (down by 7 at one point) and got as close as 2 points multiple times but just could not muster a run that would push them ahead of the GL squad. Key missed serves at crucial times late sealed the deal and gave GL a 25-21 set one win.
Set 2 was over early as the Top fell behind by 8 and just could not make a dent into that deficit as the Hilltoppers could not solve the Highlander service attack. SHS dropped the set 25-14 for their first loss of the season.
Varsity was looking to change the trend in the last 5 matches and get a vital opening day win on the road but it was not to be as the Highlanders closed out the Hilltoppers 25-17, 25-23. The season started well for the Top as the squad was down 4-3 before Sarah Noa stepped up after a Vivian Roberts kill and gave the Maroon and White an 8-4 cushion early. By rotation 6 though, Summit and GL were deadlocked again at 10 but a dig by Roberts led to a kill by Alison Wauters which had Summit up 13-12. Things looked good… until they didn’t. The Highlanders went on a 10-3 run that blew the set open and gave the GL squad a 22-15 and effectively seal the set after a few more points by a tally of 25-17. Roberts was keeping the Summit offense afloat with 4 kills in the set and an amazing .429 hitting efficiency with a 57.1% kill percentage.
In the closing set, Summit opened up with 6 unforced errors and were staring down at a 10-0 deficit. SHS could not seem to respond effectively and after another Summit service error GL must have thought that the Hilltoppers were going to quit fighting down 2-14. Julia Nardino had an overpass kill which sparked the team and then she joined Roberts for a block that had SHS down 4-12. Victoria MacArthur stepped in to serve after a Roberts kill and after an ace by the DS Junior, SHS saw the lead dwindle to 13-10 thanks as well to a few GL errors. A 3-0 run seemed to be all the Highlanders would need to get the win as just that quickly Summit saw all their hard work go for naught but this was not to come to pass. The Hilltoppers went on a 4-0 run (Hannah Barlow 2 kills) and now GL was visually worried as the Hilltoppers were within 2 at 16-14. Yet again a 3-0 run by GL fueled by 2 free ball return errors and a GL ace yet again put Summit on the ropes at 19-14.
At 20-17 after a Nardino dump kill, the Highlanders generated another 3-0 run which looked like it was going to seal the set and match after the Hilltoppers saw a 23-17 lead. A presence at the net by Nardino provided the look needed to force a tip error by the Highlanders, 23-18. A huge block by Roberts on the Opposite and the explosion of emotion was palpable, 23-19. Kill GL, one point away, 24-19. Two hitting errors forced by the Top and a service error by the GL squad… 24-22. Eva Oberhuber all over the net, hitting overpasses, finally forces one of the GL Middle blockers into the net, time-out GL, 24-23. Unfortunately, the furious comeback came up just short but a lot of good things came out of the match and the team will look to improve on those tomorrow, at home, versus Cranford.
Roberts scored a team leading 7 points (5 Kills – 2 Blocks) and had a 50% kill % and a .300 hitting efficiency, both team bests. Noa and Rebekah Thomson notched 6 digs apiece. to lead the defense and Thompson handled 19 of the 43 service attempts of the GL Highlanders, passed at a 1.95 pass rating and a 36.8% perfect pass rating, all team bests today.
Next up, Cranford, home opener!