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September 19, 2012

 

Mustangs add to Homer skid

By TOM VARTANIAN
Staff Writer

Watching Homer Central volleyball on Tuesday night could certainly draw comparisons to watching a movie about Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde.
For the first two sets, the Trojans looked good only to be beaten by close 25-20 and 25-21 margins against visiting Marcellus. The third set saw Homer lose its focus and fall into an 8-0 hole before being swept away 25-11.
The Mustangs improved to 4-1 in OHSL Freedom Division play with the victory, while the Trojans dropped their third straight match to fall to 2-3.
“We knew what they had and we knew what they were going to do,” Homer coach Jeremy Cook said of the Mustangs. “We did that, we did what we had to do in those first two sets. We let one server run too many aces off and were not in position in the end. That opened up too much of a gap for us to close it.
“We knew Devan Landers, a middle hitter, was one of their better players,” he continued. “We did block her a couple of times. She only had, I believe, five or six kills. She wasn’t the biggest factor. This is one we could have had. We let it slip away.”
Landers finished the match with five blocks and seven kills in the final statistical report.
The server Cook referred to was Hannah O’Brien. She began the third set and was given a 3-0 lead by her teammates before four straight aces and one late Trojan reaction during the next point gave the Mustangs an 8-0 lead.
The next stretch came with Jennie Delia serving a 10-2. Delia began a six-point run with an ace. Trojan junior middle hitter Lindsay Sears ended that run with a kill. Try as they might, Homer was too far back to make a sustained run.
Marcellus closed out the match with Katie Stogsdill and Jess Cost blocking two of the final three Trojans hits to secure the sweep. Cost finished with 14 assists, seven digs and three kills for the Mustangs. Allie Massara recorded 21 digs, nine aces and three kills while O’Brien had five aces and two blocks. Brittney Valentine had a match-high 22 assists.
THE FIRST SET WAS tight before Marcellus put a six-point run together to break a 9-9 tie. From there, Homer tried to battle back, getting to an 18-17 deficit, never any closer.
The second set saw the Trojans get off of the gate quickly as Emma Gutchess was the server to open things up. With the aid of some Lauren Smith and Logan McEvoy blocks, Homer built a 3-0 lead. The Trojans kept the advantage until Landers had a block to pull Marcellus to within 12-10. After a Trojan mistake and Stogsdill driving a ball through the Homer blockers, the Mustangs tied the set at 12-12. Smith delivered a deep winner to put Homer back in front 13-12 and the set remained tight with the final tie at 19-19.
It was at this point that O’Brien served up her first ace of the night to give Marcellus a 20-19 lead. Landers added block to bump the advantage to 21-19 and Marcellus did the little things to secure a 25-21 victory as the Mustangs took a two-sets to none lead.
As for Homer, Gutchess finished the match with 15 assists, two digs and one ace. Smith added six kills and three blocks, Sears four kills and three blocks and Lainee Reed had 11 digs.
Sears was one new in face the starting line-up and, even though she is a returning varsity player, the junior’s play from the winter season has certainly improved. Hannah McEvoy is a junior who moved up from the JV team this winter and her play has been more than acceptable as she looks to adjust to the quicker pace.
“The biggest thing with Lindsay was her confidence,” Cook said. “She is building that this season. Last season, there were two middles (Katie Sinclair, Smith) ahead of her who played in front of her and now she is one. You can see in her face and her actions that she is enjoying it and having fun which is helping her to play better as well. She has stepped up big in filling the void of our one middle who graduated. Lindsay is joining Lauren as a threat on the front line.
“The speed is so different,” he continued. “Hannah was one of my better players on the JV team last winter. She could be even farther along if we were playing in the winter, but we are in the fall with even better and quicker teams, so the learning curve had to come earlier. Hannah is showing that improvement.”
THE TRANSITION TO the fall season has not been easier as many of the toughest programs in Section 3 had already made the move over the last two or three seasons. Homer is really seeing even tougher competition than it has in the winter.
“I always followed volleyball in the fall so I knew it would be difficult,” Cook said. “We are just trying to find ourselves with a lot of young players and different personnel.
“This stretch of matches we are in right now is not an easy one either,” he added. “There is no letdown. Day in and day out you’re playing someone who is real very good, especially with just one day to prepare for some of those matches. We are looking at what we can do to play a complete match. Once we do that, I think we can play with anyone. We really just need a night where everyone is on the same page, not just one or two people.”
Homer returns to OHSL Freedom Division action Thursday, traveling to Westhill with a 4:30 junior varsity match start.
HOMER JVs won a thriller against visiting Marcellus Tuesday. The Trojans (2-3) stopped its three-match losing streak with a 29-27, 19-25, 25-16 victory that saw numerous long volleys back-and-forth for points.
Leading the way for Homer was Julia Brazo with 11 assists, seven digs and five aces. Adding to the winning attack were Natalie Partigianoni (11 digs), Alex Contento (seven kills, five digs), Tanya Priadoun (four digs, three assists, three kills), Molly Ulrich (two assists, two digs), Mary Mercer (four digs, two kills); Cary Trierweiler (three aces) and Taylar Williams (three digs).

 

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