The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio


November 1, 2012

On a night of stars, Zito, Drake shine the brightest

SAYBROOK TOWNSHIP — All-star matches are supposed to be fun at every level. Professionals often go through the motions at such events.

No such thing happens, though, when you put on events at the high school level. Wednesday night’s Star Beacon-Frank Roskovics Senior Classic volleyball event at Lakeside High School had more entertainment in it than any big-league event, and the young ladies participating did what they are expected to do — they had fun.

But along the way, they played some pretty good volleyball.

Leading the way for their respective teams earned the Spikers’ Maria Zito and the Slammers’ Haley Dake recognition as PlayAll Players of the match in the 24th edition of the match.

Whether their futures lie partly on the volleyball court is not yet fully determined for both PlayAll award winners.

“I’ve been thinking about college,” Zito, of Riverside, said. “Nothing is a sure thing yet, but I am really interested in physical therapy at some level. Hopefully, wherever I go will have a volleyball team, but there hasn’t really been serious thought on it yet.”

Despite only standing about 5-8 or 5-9, Zito put on a well-rounded display in winning her honors. She was 37 of 42 spiking with 16 kills, had five blocks with four ace blocks and was 17 of 20 passing, and 4 of 4 setting.

In other words, she was all over the court.

“It seems like my whole career has suddenly flown by so fast,” she said. “This season really flew by, too. We had a great season that all four of us (Riverside) seniors really enjoyed. We’re a close senior class and we were able to push the younger kids to be better and it showed with the season we had.

“Not many teams have beaten Mentor at the district level, and we did it twice.”

Her fun time in this match was obvious as she had a wide smile on her face all night.

“This match was just so much fun,” Zito said. “It was a chance to play different positions with different people and to make new friends. I have worked on my skills, both in high school and in JO (Junior Olympics), to get better, and it has paid off.”

You can’t find much disagreement from Dake about that, either.

“I just wanted to have some fun tonight,” the 5-11 hitter said. “I usually play middle hitter, but tonight, with no practices to get ready, I got to play several positions I normally don’t play. It was fun and everybody played some pretty good volleyball, too. It was a chance to meet some new girls I never saw before and to make new friends, as well.”

Dake put on a 33-of-40 spiking performance that included 17 kills. She also had two ace blocks and was 24 of 26 passing for the Slammers.

“I’d like to play at the college level,” Dake said. “Nothing has been decided yet about where I am going to school, but I am looking at probably studying English, possibly leading into journalism or broadcasting.”

Kelly is a freelance writer from Jefferson.

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