ORION -- Following weeks of practice and anticipation, the Orion volleyball team opened its season on a winning note last Tuesday. Then, it followed that up with another week of practice.|
"We were excited even before the freshman game started. We wanted to get out there and tackle this game,'' said Chargers' junior setter Macy Hancock, who helped channel that excitement in positive directions as Orion moved to 2-0 with a 25-11, 25-16 sweep of the Riverdale Rams.
Coming exactly seven days after a similar straight-set, home-court victory over Erie on opening night, Tuesday's outcome also has the Chargers off and running in the Three Rivers Conference's West Division with two wins. Riverdale (2-1), which had opened with consecutive wins last week, was playing in its league opener.
"We just try to focus in practice,'' Orion coach Jack Wheeler said of the week-long downtime between matches one and two, "and try to use that time to get better.''
With Hancock (12 assists, six digs, two aces) setting the table for the Chargers' dual-middle attack of senior Katie Conway and junior Ashton Lee, the hosts showed what practice can bring in the opening set. After using an 8-1 run to go up 13-7, Orion followed that up with a 10-0 tear after an ace by the Rams' Megan Groves had closed the gap to 13-9.
Conway's play at the net fueled that latter run as she finished with match highs of eight kills and four blocks to go with five digs. Lee was also consistent in both games as she finished with seven kills.
"Macy has a good relationship with our hitters, and she takes pride in getting them the ball and setting them up for kills,'' said Wheeler. "She's got the ideal temperament for a setter. A lot of our offense runs through our middles, and we're blessed with two good ones. We have to give them as many opportunites to attack as we can.''
In the second set, though, it was Riverdale going on the attack after the Chargers used their first-game momentum to take a 10-5 lead. Senior libero Becca Hoerres showed her prowess at the service line by recording all three of her aces in a 6-0 run that put the Rams up 11-10.
"Becca did an amazing job serving, and she also did a great job on defense,'' said Riverdale coach Lisa Black, who also got 21 digs from Hoerres, with Groves adding seven assists and six digs and Kara Keppy tallying five kills.
The teams traded points back and fourth, with the Rams tying the score at 16-16 on a Jessie Hemm kill. At that point, Orion closed out the match with a final run of nine straight points.
"I think we definitely came out nervous. We're a young team, and nerves got the best of us in the first game,'' said Black. "In the second game, we were able to refocus. We expected this to be a tough match, and I'm not disappointed in how we played.''
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