August 23, 2014

Elyria
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High school volleyball: Solon stops Elyria

ELYRIA— One could argue that Game 1 of a volleyball match between two evenly matched teams determines the outcome most of the time.
That certainly was the case Thursday as tall, talented Solon knocked off Elyria in four games. The Comets rolled out to a 13-3 advantage in the first game and won easily, 25-14. Solon also won Games 3 (25-20) and 4 (25-18) after dropping Game 2 (23-25) to improve to 5-0 overall and 3-0 in the Northeast Ohio Conference. Elyria dropped to 4-4 with all four defeats at the hands of some of the best teams in the state. It was the Pioneers’ first NOC defeat.
“We started really, really strong,” said Solon coach Melissa FitzGerald. “But Elyria’s a good team. They can play defense and bring it back. We made some errors and that second game got away from us.”
“Our girls started out very overwhelmed with Solon’s height and their reputation,” said Elyria coach Jodie Johnson. “We started slow but I thought Game 2, we were in it. We were ready to fight, we were ready to come back. Every team has their deficits. Every team has their weaknesses. We tried to work getting Solon into their weaknesses.”
FitzGerald thought the ease in which Solon controlled the first game took away its focus in the second, but Elyria never backed down after the first game and certainly made the Comets earn the match.
“That’s how volleyball works,” FitzGerald said. “When you do beat a team fairly easily like that, nine times out of 10 that’s what happens next game. That’s a really hard thing to prevent.”
Solon has weapons all over the court but none more impressive than senior Kayla Jeter, daughter of former NFL star Gary Jeter. Jeter had quite a night for the Comets at the net with 18 kills and 11 blocks, but she also led the defensive effort with 19 digs and had five aces. Senior Erin Wisner (6-foot-2) had 10 kills and seven blocks while junior Kelsey Kuehner came up with five kills and four blocks. Libero Dana Forgione had 17 digs while setters Claire Koneval and Kathleen Russell combined for 43 assists.
In the fourth game, Jeter practically took things over. She contributed five of Solon’s first seven points with some monster kills and one huge block at the net. Solon took a 7-1 advantage and, although Elyria kept it interesting the rest of the way, the Comets never relinquished the lead.
“Kayla played a great game,” FitzGerald said.
“(Solon) moved her a little bit to different positions,” Johnson said of Jeter. “They had her playing middle, they had her hitting on the outside.  She’s a smart attacker. She’s the type that knows what she wants to hit and knows where our weaknesses are. There were a couple times she went up big and strong, other times she tipped against us. She’s a very smart player but I’m proud of my girls.”
Elyria won the nip-and-tuck second game with some strong defense and the steady floor play of junior Amanda Medvetz, and spurts by senior Jodi Richards, sophomore Brigette Jones and freshman Kristen Boros. For the match, Medvetz led Elyria with 10 kills and nine digs, and scored nine points with three aces. Boros and Jones combined for 17 kills, while senior libero Jen Bower was credited with seven digs.
The Pioneers rallied to close within 21-18 in Game 3 off an ace by Lexi Smith and a Solon hitting error, but couldn’t get any closer. After Jeter’s burst to start the fourth game, Elyria whittled the deficit to 11-9 on a pair of Medvetz aces and its defense kept the ball alive two straight times with Richards scoring to close to 18-15 later in the game, but the Comets answered both rallies to maintain the lead.
“My girls worked hard,” said Johnson. “We’re a young group and one of the things we’re trying to work on is our consistency. We go through spurts in ball control throughout the game. Once we get over that hump of making errors, back-to-back, then we should be an effective team.”
Contact Tim Gebhardt at 329-7135 or ctsports@chroniclet.com.