St. Michael was pushed to the limit in each of the first two games but made the plays when it had to, fueling a 3-0 win in volleyball action Monday evening at Woodlawn.
St. Michael (9-3) trailed in each of the first two games, including a 19-11 deficit in game two. The Warriors of Division III, District 6 rallied and went on to win the match by scores of 25-17, 25-22 and 25-12.
Senior outside hitter Amari Bellard topped St. Michael with seven kills and 14 digs. The Warriors also got big contributions from a trio of sophomores — setter Sadie Edmonston, and middle blockers Allison Rodrigue and Molly Smith.
Edmonston finished with 17 assists and five aces while Rodrigue had seven kills, two blocks and four aces.
The youth movement is a necessity for St. Michael, which graduated four seniors from last year’s Division II quarterfinal squad.
“We struggled today with serve receive, and we didn’t pass the ball very well,” St. Michael coach Rob Smith said. “We were just a little rusty today. Maybe it’s a Monday thing.”
Woodlawn (7-6) is trying to replace the production of five seniors from last season’s playoff squad. The Panthers of Division II, District 3 got 13 kills from Jodi Edo and 16 assists from Myah Johnson.
“We still have some good players, but we need to play with more consistency,” Woodlawn coach Nelson Malpica said. “If one player gets out of synchronization, then it hurts everybody, but we’ve got a lot of games left to play.”
The opening game went back-and-forth with four lead changes and six ties. Woodlawn led 15-14, but a block by Rodrigue and a kill by Savannah Wininger helped the Warriors take a 20-17 lead.
St. Michael closed out game one with five consecutive points off of Rodrigue’s serve, only one of which Woodlawn was able to get back across the net.
In game two, Edo had five kills sparking Woodlawn to a 19-11 lead. St. Michael rallied behind Rodrigue’s play in the middle and the serving of Edmonston. The Warriors won 14 of the final 17 points to take the game 25-22.
Woodlawn led early in game three, but St. Michael took the lead for good at 5-4. Two kills each by Wininger and Bellard helped the Warriors extend the lead to 19-7. Smith had three kills as St. Michael closed out the match 25-12.
“We’ve moved some people around, but when we put it together we look pretty good,” Smith said.