May 24, 2016


High school volleyball: Firelands finally figures it out, downs Vermilion in four games after dropping the first

Vermilion's Kayla Lowe hits the ball past Firelands' Mikayla Walbom. STEVE MANHEIM/CHRONICLE

Vermilion’s Kayla Lowe hits the ball past Firelands’ Mikayla Walbom. STEVE MANHEIM/CHRONICLE

HENRIETTA TWP. — Rivalries can bring out the best in everyone.

At least for awhile.

It looked like Vermilion had the upper hand against Firelands in their non-conference volleyball match Monday night after winning the first game 25-22. But the Falcons never trailed again, winning the next three games 25-11, 25-20 and 25-18.

“Vermilion came out with a lot of intensity,” said Firelands senior Cassandra Morrissette. “I’d say we played pretty awful in that first game. We just couldn’t get anything going.”

The Sailors (7-7) kept Morrissette quiet in the opening game, jumping out to a 10-4 lead on a service point from Madie Nader, a pair of points by Ashley Parker and three from Brooke Green.

Vermilion built its lead with solid blocking, keeping Morrissette and Paige O’Connell from getting on a roll as Lauren Hollars picked up a block and Ariona Lee a pair in building a 24-18 lead.

“Our game one was our usual make-our-mistakes-game,” Falcons coach Diane Price said after her team improved to 10-3.

“It’s been a thorn in our side all year, but when we clean it up and get out of our mistakes we’re good to go.”

Firelands certainly was good-to-go after the first game and it started with Morrissette getting untracked with nine kills in the second game. She had 22 kills in the final three games.

“As seniors, Paige and I are always trying to make sure things are going right on the court,” Morrissette said. “We help out when we can and we were able to get things turned around pretty quickly.”

O’Connell got things going for the Falcons in the third game, opening with seven service points. Dalaney Rogala also provided a kill and a pair of block-kills to go with a pair of kills from Erica Wassem.

The Sailors bounced right back, cutting the score to 8-7, but Vermilion couldn’t get back in the lead as Morrissette took control with six kills and a block-kill as the Falcons put the game away.

“Being experienced, we know what we have to do to get things turned around,” said O’Connell, who had 18 kills. “It’s always fun to beat Vermilion. They’re a good team and this was a good test to see where we are as a team.”

Vermilion came close to grabbing a lead in Game 4, tying the score twice, but the Falcons were just too much for the Sailors. O’Connell got loose at the net with Morrissette at the service line and the two combined for seven points in the match-sealing win.

“I think some of our older players are trying to do too much, our hitters are just lacking a little confidence,” Vermilion coach Bob Eis said. “We’re trying to do more than they need to do and we just need to relax a little and settle down on the court.”

SPIKE OUT CANCER: Vermilion will host Bay tonight in a Spike Out Cancer event with all proceeds going to the American Cancer Society. There will be numerous chances to help raise money with raffles, baskets, a 50/50 drawing, bake sale and other fundraising events starting with the freshman match at 4:30.

Contact James Brady at 329-7135 or

HITTING: (V) Kayla Lowe 30-of-33, 14 kills; (F) Casey Morrissette 22 kills, Paige O’Connell 18 kills.
SETTING: (V) Maddie Nader 54-of-54, 19 assists; Sydney Virgin 63-of-70, 16 assists; (F) Mikayla Walbom 122-of-124, 55 assists.
SERVING: (V) Ashley Parker nine points; (F) Morrissette 15 points.
DIGS: (V) Abbey Bodeker 16; (F) Kaitlyn Michner 23 digs, Morrissett 20, Walbom 13.
BLOCKS: (F) Dalaney Rogala 3.