The Varsity Lady Hilltoppers had bounced back from the New Providence loss last week with a great road win at Cranford and followed that up with an outstanding home victory versus Governor Livingston. ALJ could be a trap game as the team is looking at a showdown at Linden on Friday, Summit being the only loss for the Tigers in the division this season.
Set 1 began auspiciously enough with ALJ jumping out to a 2-0 lead but Summit righted the ship rather quickly and by the time Vivian Roberts got her first kill, SHS was up 3-2. With the squads knotted up at 4 after a kill by Eva Oberhuber, a long rally ensued after a Torie MacArthur serve and Cece Webb –in her first start of the season- put the ball away from the outside for a 5-4 lead. But then everything became the MacArthur show. The senior DS ripped 2 aces and then followed up with another tough serve that allowed the Top to get Webb another rip for a kill. MacArthur continued serving bullets and forcing numerous ALJ errors as well as seeing Oberhuber get another kill and adding a block. Time-outs did not slow the senior down or alter her approach and before it was over on a Summit hitting error, MacArthur had led the team to a 16-5 lead. The set was soon over in the next few rotations as SHS wrapped it up 25-6.
Set 2 saw some changes for the Hilltoppers with Ally Lipschitz coming in to set, Aya Laws joining the defensive crew and serve receive rotations and MacArthur was going to be more integrated into the defense in the set. The Crusaders jumped out to a 3-0 after an ace and a kill by the ALJ squad but saw Roberts earn 2 kills off the ALJ block to tie things up at 3. Oberhuber continued to be a menace to the Crusaders as she got another kill which pushed SHS to a 5-4 lead but the Crusaders broke serve and went on a 2-0 run to take the lead 7-5. Oberhuber then hit for 2 consecutive kills and the Top flipped the scoreboard yet again to an 8-7 SHS lead. And so it went for the next couple of rotations but Coach Martins was forced to call a time-out down 12-9 after 3 consecutive perfect serve receptions led to nothing more than 2 hitting errors for the SHS crew. Alison Wauters responded off the time-out with a kill but yet again ALJ fed off 3 more Summit errors to take the lead 15-10.
Just when the Summit fans thought the tide was turning, three consecutive ball handling error calls on 3 different players saw the ALJ fan base get excited as their home team had suddenly earned a 21-16 lead in the set. A Crusader serving error stopped that momentum and SHS started to pressure the ALJ team with offensive attacks that were forcing the Crusaders into rushed attack attempts in transition which led to a slim 22-20 Crusader lead. Time-out ALJ. Zacharias came in to shore up the serving point scoring attack and came through with an ace and another serve that forced the Crusader attack into the blocking hands of Wauters for the 22-22 score-line.
A couple or rotations later, SHS had the score at 24-24. A perfect pass by Wauters in the next ball led to nothing more than another Summit hitting error and suddenly, 25-24 ALJ!. But the Crusaders could not finish it out as they served yet another ball out and SHS had survived a set point as the scoreboard showed 25-25. With the teams knotted up at 26, Basaman came up to serve in crunch time and blistered a serve that had ALJ scrambling and forced an errant free ball to get Summit their second match and set point. This time, the Top finished the job with an ace by Basaman for the 28-26 win.
Summit is now 7W-3L.