SENECA – Although it’s admirable that the Seneca student section has an unwavering faith in its girls volleyball squad, it was a little premature when, with the Irish on top of Reed-Custer, 19-13, on Monday night, it started chanting during a timeout, “This game’s over! This game’s over!”
Turns out it was far from over, but the sentiment eventually rang true nonetheless as Seneca finished off its 25-15, 25-22 victory over the winless but feisty Comets.
The Irish used a three-point service burst from Cassia Buchanan and later a five-point run by Zoe Hougas to take control of the opening set. But Seneca needed to come up big defensively in the back row, led by Buchanan and Taylor Draves, down the stretch of the second set to hold off R-C and improve their record to 9-3 on the season. The Comets are 0-9.
“That was the game plan coming in,” Seneca coach Noah Champene said. “We wanted to take control early and try to dominate the match. We’re not quite there yet as far as being dominant goes necessarily, but we were clearly the aggressor tonight, and I like seeing that. We did a nice job of spreading the ball around tonight, both our setters Addi [Eltrevoog] and Madi [Mino] did a really nice job of sharing the ball and getting everyone involved.
“I would also like to see more consistency, to get more than just two or three points before we lose a little bit of focus. In the first set, we could have made them earn a few more points instead of giving them away with mistakes, … but it’s a process, and we’ll continue to work on it and get better.”
The Irish appeared on their way to that dominant performance when a Comets service error evened the first-set score at 7-7 and brought Buchanan to the line for her three points. Later, one of Hougas’ team-best eight kills earned a sideout and set up her own five-point scoring string, widening the margin to 16-9, a lead that held up the rest of the game.
But in the second set, the Comets simply would not go away.
Seneca led, 6-3 and 8-5, but the visitors rallied to knot the match at 12. Finally, the Irish pulled away slowly, using two points from Draves and three from Eltrevoog to lead, 19-13, but it wasn’t long before three straight points by R-C’s Alysha Fisher pulled them within 22-19.
Fortunately for the hosts, a sideout kill by Carly Greave and an Emma Smith block on a back-row spike by the Comets’ Lily Schott gave SHS some breathing room, but a kill from Mackenzie Keller and a block on Smith by Laci Newbrough drew Reed-Custer back within 24-22 before an R-C passing error ended it.
“Our communication could have been a little better,” Comets coach Jen Patton said. “There were a couple of dropped balls that just shouldn’t happen at this level. In the first game, there were a lot of hitting mistakes from girls that don’t usually make those kinds of mistakes. It was an off night for girls that don’t usually have off nights.
“We’re always right there. Our most competitive game this season was against Wilmington, the No. 1 team in our conference, when we took them to three games and all of them were very close, so we’re right there. I’m hoping as the second half of the season comes around, we can see some of these teams again and maybe get a win.
“The big thing is, they have not given up, and hopefully soon they’ll get the win they deserve.”