GUYS MILLS — Behind the profuse attack of Chloe Leech and 18 total services aces, Maplewood overwhelmed Franklin en route to a convincing Region 4 girls volleyball sweep. It is the second such result for the Tigers against the Knights this season, and eighth overall.
The locals trounced the visitors with set scores of 25-5, 25-13 and 25-3.
“It was pretty error-free,” said head coach Shelia Bancroft about her team’s performance. “I thought we played pretty solid all around.”
The first set opened with an even 1-1 score before an Avery Brunot kill sparked an 11-point rally for the Tigers to garner them a 12-1 advantage. During the first big run for Maplewood, Sadie Thomas served up four of her seven aces, while Leech worked in four kills to get her rhythm going.
The Tigers closed the first set on a 13-4 run, featuring four more powerful kills from Leech and a set-sealing dagger from Thomas.
Franklin came out of the break with a little more mojo, leading by as many as two points in the early stages of the second set. The main catalysts behind the Tigers’ slower start according to Bancroft, were careless mistakes.
“We were flawless in the first set, but then we had some unforced errors in the second set,” explained Bancroft. “You bunch those all together and you got a six-point swing.”
With Franklin ahead 7-6, Sadie Thomas set up Kaysea Thomas for the senior’s lone kill of the evening, but the attack turned the momentum in favor of the home side as Maplewood strung together a mini 5-0 run and began to pull away. The locals continued to utilize their stifling serving, posting three aces in the final six points to wrap up the set and take a commanding 2-0 lead.
The third, and ultimately final, set was all Maplewood. Similar to the first set, the locals broke away from a 1-1 tie behind an 8-0 run, highlighted by three consecutive service aces from Sadie Thomas.
“We were consistent about getting the ball in play,” said Bancroft when asked about the Tigers’ success on the serve. “We were able to hit our spots.”
Ahead 10-3, Maplewood did not let up, as Bailey Varndell joined in on the action with seven aces as the Tigers shut out the Knights 15-0 to secure the victory, and the coup de gras was an ace from Trista Robinson on match point.
On the attack, Leech racked up 16 kills, while Brunot added six. Varndell was responsible for 25 of the Tigers’ 26 assists.
“We are gearing up for the big match on Thursday against CASH,” said Bancroft.
Conneaut Area got the best of Maplewood earlier in the season, sweeping the Tigers in Linesville on Sept. 22. Tomorrow’s match is slated for a 7 p.m. start at Maplewood High School.