By STEVE GOLDMAN
For the Star Beacon
SAYBROOK TOWNSHIP —
There was nothing on the line Wednesday night at Lakeside Gymnasium. It was just a chance for 21 area senior volleyball players to have fun, and to take the court one more time in their high school careers.
The occasion was the 24th annual Star Beacon-Frank Roskovics Senior Classic.
The Slammers, who consisted of players from Edgewood, Jefferson, Madison, Geneva, Riverside and Lakeside, wrested a 25-23, 23-25, 25-23, 25-21 win from the Spikers, who sent players from Edgewood, Pymatuning Valley, Conneaut, St. John and Riverside to the floor.
“It’s about girls all the same age coming together and showcasing their talent,” Riverside’s Brandy Thomas, who coached the Slammers along with Madison’s Brynn Ryan, said. “And I think it was very apparent by bringing all these different schools together that each school plays at a different level. And it was neat to see all the schools come together and compete.”
“It’s about just playing, having fun,” St. John coach Stephanie Kubec, who coached the Spikers with PV’s Rob Wludyga, said. “It’s an end to their volleyball career. The girls really had a lot of fun out there. It was great.”
Riverside’s Alexis Parsons served for six points for the Slammers in Game 1. A sideout and three points by Riverside’s Maggie Julius gave them an 18-14 lead they never relinquished.
The Slammers threatened to make it two games to nothing when they grabbed leads of 17-13 and 18-14. But the Spikers came roaring back to grab a 20-19 edge.
A sideout and two points by Riverside’s Maria Zito turned a 21-20 deficit into a 23-21 lead, but a kill by Madison’s Allie Klimko and a Parsons block tied it. However, the Spikers got the serve back and won it on a point by St. John’s Brenna Powers.
Game 3 was a defensive battle. Three Julius points snapped a 13-all tie, and the Slammers pushed to three leads of five points, the last coming at 24-19. The Spikers made a run on a kill by Conneaut’s Angie Zappitelli and three points by Riverside’s Rachel Bares before falling.
The last time the final game was tied was at nine apiece. Three points by Jefferson’s Giulia Giancola made it 15-10, but the Spikers sliced the margin back to two points, the final time coming at 23-21. But a point by Madison’s Haley Dake, the Slammers’ PlayAll Player of the Match, and a service ace by Lakeside’s Paige Halsey finished off the evening.
Zito took home PlayAll Player of the Match honors for the Spikers.
“The one thing I did like about our team was that they were having fun with one another, which was one of our goals — for them to have fun,” Ryan said. “Before the fourth game, you could start to see that they were getting out of their shells a little bit more than compared to the first game.”
The others who participated for the Spikers were Edgewood’s Judith Silvieus, Pymatuning Valley’s Ally Workman, Heather Brant and Michealia Skleres, St. John’s Brenna Kubec and Conneaut’s Lydia Coccitto.
Edgewood’s Katie Thomas and Abby Pisano, Geneva’s Natalie Thomas, Jefferson’s LeeAnn Farr and Lakeside’s Emily Gehring also played for the Slammers.
“For me especially, as coaches, we don’t always get to see players from Lake County, or even some Ashtabula County schools,” Wludyga said. “So it’s really exciting to be able to see some of these talented, athletic girls that I don’t get to see all season long. A game like tonight just really shows us the level of talent that we do have around the area.”
Goldman is a freelance writer from South Euclid.
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