Girls volleyball: Stevenson overcomes lull in victory over Carmel
When Stevenson senior Becca Sullivan went in to serve Thursday night, the first set was about clinched for the visitors. Stevenson went on to handle Carmel 25-13. It was just a matter of time for Stevenson to claim the second set and head home.
OK, so the second set was closer. Stevenson still led late, 18-16. Carmel won the second set 25-23 and proceeded to grab a quick 7-1 lead in the final set. And just like that, the momentum went back to Stevenson.
Stevenson sophomore Lilly Cozzi had 10 kills, seniors Hope Havenhill and Lauren Micek added 7 kills each, and the Patriots prevailed 25-13, 23-25, 25-16.
"We seem to self-destruct by committee," Stevenson coach Tim Crow said after his team, coming off a third-place finish in the Class 4A state tournament last year, improved to 1-1. "We had all that momentum from the first set, and then Carmel outworked us and played great defense."
The 5-foot-11 Cozzi helped close out the first set with one of her kills.
"This is the best game I've played," said Cozzi, who's playing her first season on varsity.
While the Patriots have 8 players at least 5 feet 10, the Corsairs (1-1) seemed to be at a height disadvantage the whole night.
"We are not tall and we are young," Carmel coach David Pazely said. "We start three sophomores. We can see the talent is there. Right now, we have a giant puzzle. And some of the pieces are interchangeable."
Sullivan turned the first set to Stevenson. She notched 3 aces, and kills from setter Alex Cuc and middle hitter Annie Armgardt made it 15-8.
"When you serve aggressively, you can take a team out of their system," Pazely said.
Carmel stayed closer in the second set. With its usual helpful student section making noise, the Corsairs made a strong run late. With Mya Mainzer on the serving line, Alyssa Donton and Jolina Moisio registered kills. Erin Taylor closed the second set with a kill.
The impressive Donton had a pair of kills as the Corsairs used the momentum from the second set to surge out front in the final set.
And then Stevenson veteran libero Chloe Robinson went in to serve with the Patriots down 7-2. When Riana Doretti finished her serving, the Patriots' lead had grown to 17-9.
"Carmel is a good team," Robinson said. "But it's a good thing that you can change the momentum."
Robinson was on Stevenson's successful squad a year ago and she knows her club lost some key players to graduation.
"We are OK this year," she said. "We can do it."
Armgardt added 4 kills to the Stevenson attack. Sara Bufe checked in with 3 kills.
Taylor led a balanced Carmel attack with 8 kills. Donton, one of the Corsairs' setters, had 8 assists to go with her 5 kills.
"One place we are very deep is on defense," Pazely said. "We have three defensive specialists."
Robinson had 17 digs for the Patriots. Cuc checked in with 26 assists.