JV and Varsity entered their third match this season against the Tigers of Linden on Tuesday and came away with their third victory on both levels as both squads will move on to the Quarter-Finals. JV won 25-21, 25-17, taking a close set each time and getting on a hot serving rotation that produced the separation the team needed to win each set easily.
Set 1 started to break open on rotation 3 and 4 as the Top fought back from a 6-4 deficit to take a 12-7 lead entering rotation 5 thanks to the serving rotations of Stella Yarden and Abby Wells. Linden could not put much of a dent into the SHS lead by rotation 7 and the Hilltoppers held a 14-9 lead as Abby Thompson stepped up to serve. By the end of her serving rotation, Thompson had Summit up 19-9 and the outcome was never really in doubt even though the Tigers did manage to cut the lead down minimally 23-15. Final score set 1, 25-15.
Set 2 was rather competitive as the Hilltoppers found themselves down 16-14 by rotation 6, a set that saw both teams not able to go on a huge run but rather multiple rotations struck for at least 2-3 points. That was the case until rotation 8 with the Hilltoppers and Tigers knotted up at 17 and Wells serving again. The south paw junior ripped off an 8-0 run with 4 aces that sealed the deal unexpectedly by a 25-17 score. JV (14W-1L) will now host Union in the Quarter Finals on Thursday, 4pm at home.
VARSITY MAKES IT 3 FOR 3
The Varsity squad got an all around balanced attack by their front line and a defensive effort that was statistically the most productive of the year to seal the 2-0 victory over the Linden Tigers, 25-16, 25-13. This match featured many long rallies and the difference in the match was that the Hilltoppers tended to win most of these, a result that clearly had a demoralizing effect on the Tigers at key junctions of each set. With the Top receiving serve early at 2-2, a long rally ensued that ended on a Tiger error and that point sparked a 4-0 run that had SHS up 7-2 before it ended (Julia Nardino 2 aces, Vivian Roberts 1 kill) . Linden then owned the next few rotations and the two teams found themselves deadlocked at 10 after an Eva Oberhuber tip kill. An 8-3 SHS run gave control back to the Hilltoppers thanks to kills by Nardino, Roberts, Oberhuber and Hope Basaman who also added an ace to push the score to 18-13. Linden again started to make a push but Roberts and Basaman put kills down and Alison Wauters dropped a tear drop tip for a kill to all but seal the set for the Black and Maroon at 23-15. And it soon did end, with the Hilltoppers putting an exclamation point on the set with the final point going through Basaman for a powerful seam shot from the OPP position.
The handful of rallies that Linden lost took the steam out of the squad and it showed early in set 2 as the Hilltoppers jumped out to a 5-0 lead (Roberts kill, Basaman ace) . Despite the Tigers breaking serve, Summit got a mini run again through Roberts with 3 consecutive kills forcing a Linden TO at 8-1. Cece Webb and Oberhuber put down 4 kills over the next few rotations and the outcome became apparent as the Top held a 14-4 lead. When Webb returned to the front row again with the score 22-11, she promptly drove a kill down to zone 6 which led to a Torie MacArthur ace to push the set win to near reality at 23-12. It soon ended at 25-13 and propelled the Hilltoppers to a 2-0 win (12W-3L) and a Quarter-Final berth in the UCIAC Tournament. Varsity will travel to Kent Place for a 4:30 match against the #12 team in the state, a real test for the young squad.