ELYRIA — Opening night volleyball isn’t always pretty but if Wednesday’s non-conference match is any indication, Elyria Catholic could be headed for a big year.
The Panthers looked in midseason form in sweeping past Brookside 25-16, 25-9 and 25-15.
“I was very proud of the way we played,” Panthers coach Jen Lee said. “Sometimes there are opening jitters but I didn’t see that. Our defense and blocking were very good.”
The first game swung back and forth until sophomore Sarah Schuckman snuck a long serve just inside the line to give EC a 16-14 lead. The Panthers then completed two five-point runs to win the first set by nine.
“We know we have a target on our back,” said Lee’s sophomore daughter Jesse, who led the Panthers with 13 kills. “We knew we couldn’t let (Brookside) get a run. We needed to stop this right there and score.”
Schuckman’s serve seemed to deflate the Cardinals.
“It may have,” Brookside coach Karlee Bruck said. “I’m not exactly sure. I can’t really pin-point it. I thought the first set we competed really, really well. We were out of system a lot during the second set. We needed to figure out a way to get our passes back up and run our offense. That was the determining factor for me.”
The Panthers took charge to win Game 2 easily. EC ran up a 7-1 advantage, increased it to 12-4 and 18-7 before coasting home. The third game started with a 5-1 Elyria Catholic lead and the Panthers stretched it out from there.
Setters Lauren Evans and senior Allie Kaminski took turns feeding EC’s front line for runs of six and five points in the second game.
“We have a really good offense this year,” Jesse Lee said. “We have a really good incoming freshman (Reese Virgin) who was out this game (injury) but we should have a lot of offense. We play together. We have a lot of team chemistry. We stay positive.
“We had to play hard and we came out with a lot of energy.”
Senior Caitlyn Rock had eight kills while senior Maryssa Kellick and junior Josie Carandang had four each. Kellick also led in blocks with six assisted and two solo. Schuckman led the defensive effort with seven digs and 13 service points. Evans had 12 assists and Kaminski 10.
Brookside had good efforts from senior Tyller Holley and junior Mary Williams with seven kills each. Sophomore Taylor Martin had five kills.
Contact Tim Gebhardt at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.