By BOB ETTINGER
For the Star Beacon
ASHTABULA TOWNSHIP —
A volleyball team resembles a car engine in that if one part fails, the car isn’t going anywhere.
All of Edgewood’s parts were in good working order while Pymatuning Valley was stuck along the side of the road in the Warriors’ 25-12, 25-22, 25-13 non-conference victory at Edgewood on Monday.
“PV wasn’t in sync on offense,” Edgewood coach Dave Fowler said. “Our defense just had to pass free balls and shoot. When (PV) was in system, their middles put some heat on the ball.
“You could see tonight something was up. We had 36 kills from the attackers whereas on a good night, we might have 17. We more than doubled that output. Something was up.”
Fowler knew exactly what was up for the Warriors (11-8).
“So many of our passes were to the setter,” he said. “(Earlier in the season,) we were setting from the 10-foot line and tonight we were setting from two or three feet from the net putting it in terms of us getting the ball where it needed to be.
“Haley Holden did a pretty good job. The balls were distributed to where they needed to be.”
Holden was 73 of 75 spiking with 13 aces.
The Lakers (10-8, 8-3 in Northeastern Athletic Conference), on the other hand, struggled in those areas the Warriors excelled.
“Like last Monday (at Grand Valley), we seemed a step slow,” PV coach Rob Wludyga said. “We didn’t play defense the way we needed to and we didn’t get into our offensive sets. This game... let’s just say it’s not indicative of the way most of the season has gone.
“Most of the time, we play defense up to level we need to. Tonight, we didn’t pass the ball good enough to get into our offense. We know any time we play Edgewood, we need to play at a high level to be able to compete.
“Like I said, we were a step slow and timing is very key. This is the ultimate team sport. When we’re not playing together as cohesive unit, it’s obviously going to show.”
In the first game, the Lakers actually took a 7-6 lead on an ace serve from Kelsea Brown. But things went south fast.
After a PV passing error tied the score, Courtney DiDonato served the next 13 points to put the game out of reach. During that stretch, PV made seven unforced errors.
“We had a run of something like 15 points in the first game,” Fowler said. “We did it with serving and a combination of them making bad passes and hitting the ball into the net. It got to be an epidemic for them.”
“If you can stay relaxed, passing is easier,” Wludyga said. “If not, one mistake can turn into two and (the points) pile up fast.”
The Lakers and Warriors were tied, 12-12, in the second game, before an ace block and an ace tip from Alyssa Johnson and an ace block and a kill from Iesha Niciu had the Warriors up, 19-14.
“We picked it back up in the second game,” Wludyga said. “We had a chance to take that one, but Edgewood is a good team. They were able to stop our momentum.”
“They played us pretty tight in the second game,” Fowler said.
Taylor Diemer finished with 10 kills on 19-of-20 spiking and Niciu, a freshman, had nine kills on 17 of 20 spiking.
“Everyone working together helped a lot,” Niciu said. “We were just working together. (My teammates) helped me out a lot.”
Johnson had seven kills on 15 of 17 spiking. Ashten Noce added six kills on 12 of 14 spiking.
Holden served Edgewood to a 4-0 lead in the third game and the Lakers never really got into it.
Megan Stech paced the Lakers with eight kills on 23 of 29 spiking and Brown had six kills on 23 of 27 spiking.
Ettinger is a freelance writer from Ashtabula.