The Hilltoppers found out early afternoon that they would be without the services of starting L and Captain Rebekah Thompson which forced the squad to make some adjustments to the line-up they featured against Governor Livingston. Sarah Noa took over the reigns of the backline as the Libero for the match while Tori MacArthur and Thea Rind anchored the other slots in the back with OH Hannah Barlow rounding out the serve receive formations. Hope Basaman and Alison Wauters were moved to the OPP position while Julia Nardino would come in to provide more of a presence out of the middle.
Summit and Cranford opened up the match slowly with serving errors and inconsistent offense being the norm. After a Cougar serving error had SHS down only 1 at 8-7, a 5-0 run by MacArthur (2 aces)had the Cranford players on their heels and Summit in control by a 12-8 score. The Hilltoppers were looking to put things away after a Barlow kill had the Top up 16-12 but Cranford got a kill and a SHS error to cut the lead to 16-14. A Cougar serving error and a Nardino block had the Top up 18-14 and with the Summit net presence and serving pressuring the Cougars into errors, the Maroon and White were looking at what seemed an insurmountable 20-15 lead. Cranford did not wilt however and came up with 2 kills, an ace and benefitted from 1 hitting error around a Roberts kill to force Coach Martins into a time-out hanging on to a 21-19 lead. Eva Oberhuber notched a kill coming out of the time-out and the Top got a little more breathing room. SHS had the ball with a 23-20 lead but yet again, 2 Cougar kills and a SHS ball handling error had the set knotted up at 23! But then, a perfect 3.0 pass by Noa led to a crucial kill by Barlow that put the sophomore on the service line with the set in hand. Barlow sent a screamer over the net that forced a free ball which was perfectly passed ball by Noa and Vivian Roberts wrapped it up with another kill off the left side for the 25-23 set 1 win.
Set 2 began with the Top on serve receive and the Cougars jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead to open things up. A service error got the Top off the hook and Noa followed up with an ace to begin things for the Hilltoppers. A kill by Cranford had the visitors up 7-4 early on but SHS went on a 4-0 run (Nardino kill, Oberhuber block and kill, Roberts kill) to erase that deficit.
Summit saw the Cougars regain control of the set after trailing 10-8 a few rotations later as their rival tallied 4 of 5 points in a run fueled by 2 serving errors, a hitting error and an ace allowed by the Top. SHS steadied the boat after an Oberhuber block knotted the score at 12 and the home side proceeded to take six of the next 7 points off a really consistent and well placed service attack (Noa and Cece Webb 1 ace each). Two successful attacks by Roberts had the Top up 20-16 late which was followed by 2 aces by MacArthur which all but ended the Cougars’ hopes at 23-17. The senior DS ripped two final serves that forced the Cranford attack into 2 hitting errors and sealed the 2-0 win versus their rival!
FOR THE MATCH:
Top Point Scorer: Roberts, 6 points
Top Assists: Zacharias, 13 assists
Top Blocker: Oberhuber, 2 blocks
Top Digs: Oberhuber, 3 digs
Top Kills / Offensive Efficiency: Roberts, 6 kills, .308
Top Receiver / Pass Rating: Barlow, 8/8, perfect 3.00 rating
Top Aces / Serve Rating: MacArthur, 4 aces, 2.46 serve rating