NEW PROVIDENCE (HOME)
The Lady Hilltoppers had a clear size advantage up front but could the SHS serving attack and defense do enough to overcome an always defensive minded Pioneer squad?
Summit did have a 26-13 kill advantage but lost the serving battle by a 13-4 ace disadvantage to see Summit only tally a 27-26 total point advantage in a 25-23, 25-22 loss to the Green and White.
Looking to bounce back from the setback to the Pioneers, Summit traveled to Cranford and hoped to leave the Cougar Den intact. Although one can not say that the Hilltoppers came out intact, it was definetly a statement match for the Summit Black and Maroon as the team faced adversity in the form of a motivated and dangerous Cranford squad and came out on top by a 2-0 tally.
Despite a hot start by the Cougars and another Summit hitting error which had the Top down 10-3, a 7-0 run by the Hilltoppers stunned the Cougar Den into silence. Roberts hit for 3 kills in the run and the Summit offense forced Cranford into a series of errors that saw the teams knotted at 10. Zoe Zacharias had an unexpected kill to lift the SHS squad to an 18-15 and it did not seem to matter that errors kept happening as the Hilltoppers just kept scoring. Julia Nardino helped the squad with a block and Sarah Noa tallied another ace to lift the Top to a 21-16 lead. Cranford tried to stem the tide but SHS had a response for every point that Cranford scored. Roberts tallied 2 kills late in the set and Nardino got an ace on set point to wrap up what turned out to be one of the largest deficits Summit has ever erased.
Cranford started set 2 benefitting from 2 Summit miscues and added a kill to jump out to a 3-0 lead but the Hilltoppers won five of the next six points fueled by Cougar errors that had the Top up 5-4. he Blue and Gold squad went on a 4-0 run after seeing the Hilltoppers take control and looked to have turned the tide up 11-7 up. But the Summit crew responded in the form of two Oberhuber kills which sparked a 4-1 run that had SHS tied at 12. Roberts had the Maroon and Black up 17-14 after a kill but the Cougar squad erased that deficit with a 3-0 run before Roberts again stymied Cranford with another kill to give Summit the 18-17 lead. Nardino stepped up again on the service line and forced an errant Cougar pass that Oberhuber promptly dispatched for a kill. Nardino followed up with an ace and with the lead at 20-17, Cranford was forced to call a time-out. Again, credit to the Cranford squad for fighting back yet again as the Cougars clawed back to within 1 at 21-20 but a Roberts kill again cut the run off and Tory MacArthur rattled off an ace to push SHS closer to the set and match win at 23-20. Despite a service break by the Cougars, Summit got another timely kill by Oberhuber to see SHS get three match points. This turned out to be one of the longer match rallies as Thea Rind passed a perfect pass to Zacharias who set up Oberhuber for the win but the Cougars fought that off which forced the Summit defense to react. Rebecca Thompson dug out a Cougar attack but Wauters could not finish off the attack and Basaman was forced to dig another Cranford ball back which led to an Oberhuber dump kill for the 25-21 set and match win!
GOVERNOR LIVINGSTON (HOME)
The Varsity Squad entered the match with Governor Livingston off their impressive win over Cranford and a good tournament run versus in the Heal The Children Tournament. With three losses already on the ledger in division play, the Hilltoppers needed an upset win to stay in the hunt for the divisional title, a task made more difficult by the fact that the program had not defeated GL since 2016.
Vivia Roberts set the tone early with 2 kills that propelled the Hilltoppers to 4-2 lead although the team found themselves trailing 6-5 a couple of rotations later. But an unlikely yet impressive 8-0 run by Summit turned the set on its head fueled by Alison Wauters with 2 kills, Eva Oberhuber with one and a number of forced and unforced errors by the Highlander team. GL could not seem to get any closer than 6 points and, with the score 16-10 after a Governor Livingston kill, Roberts ripped a kill to zone 6 that brought Hope Basaman to the service line. Basaman proceeded to go on a 7-0 run (5 aces!) that was paused by a GL time-out at 24-10 and despite a break of service, the squad wrapped set one up with a service error by the visiting squad and the scoreboard showing 25-11.
Set 2 was eerily similar as the Top got out to a 6-3 lead with Roberts notching another 3 kills early and Julia Nardino ripping an ace during a 3 point service run. GL fought back again to tie the score 8-8 but the Summit squad found a way to earn a 2 point lead at the midpoint in the match at 13-11. Nardino from the service line was again the catalyst for a mini run with an ace that sparked an Oberhuber kill to get SHS a 16-11 lead. A rotation later, Torie MacArthur ripped an ace and forced GL into an easy attack that SHS converted into a Wauters kill for a 19-12 lead. The end was near so long as the Top kept themselves out of some kind of error streak.
The Highlanders fought back with offense and erased the lead down to 4 at 19-15 and got as close as 21-19 but the Hilltoppers got a huge kill by Basaman and Sarah Noa drove a serve at the GL defense that forced a hitting error and the home team was looking at a 23-19 lead. A service break gave the Highlanders hope but Roberts squashed it with a decisive kill and finished it off with a block point to punctuate a huge win for the team!
Varsity record, 6-3.