EATON TWP. — History repeated itself in a couple of ways Tuesday night at the Division I district volleyball tournament at Midview High School.
First, third-seeded Avon swept second-seeded Amherst out of the tournament for the second straight year, posting a 25-15, 25-22, 25-20 victory.
Second, the Eagles (22-2) earned a third straight chance to dethrone two-time district champion St. Joseph Academy in the title game after the top-seeded Jaguars defeated Magnificat 18-25, 25-22, 25-18, 25-16 in Tuesday’s second match.
The championship game will be Saturday at 2 p.m. at Midview.
“That wasn’t my expectation tonight,” Avon coach Julie Bendzuck said of sweeping the Comets (22-2). “In my head I was thinking we were going to be here all night.
“I think the first set set the tone for the match — nothing against Amherst — but we came out guns ablazing. We were in system on all cylinders and able to run sort of whatever we wanted to run.”
The Eagles have defeated the Comets in three of their last four meetins, including in last year’s sectional final.
After taking a 3-2 lead on the first of two aces by Erin Gardner, the Eagles refused to give the lead back in the first game. Junior setter Maddy Jerdonek picked up 11 of her 30 assists in Game 1 and Avon got four kills each from Sydney Stone (10 kills for the match) and Katie Sopko (eight).
“We came on the floor with a lot of passion and wanted to win this match,” said Jerdonek, who also had four kills and a block-kill. “It’s hard to play a team three times and playing a team like that three times it just comes down to who wants it more.”
The Comets looked like they would end the streak of sweeps between the Southwestern Conference co-champions, building a 16-11 lead in the second game on four block-kills from Tory Small, London Voss, Sarah Farley and Faith Rico along with three kills by Sarah Weigand (eight).
Following a Gillian Romanchok kill, Taylor Dallas started a six-point service run that flipped the score to 18-16 in favor of the Eagles.
“It’s definitely a good momentum shift when you get two aces like that in a row against anybody,” Dallas said. “We all just love the energy something like that brings.”
The third game was tied at 11 when Gardner and Dallas served Avon to a 21-12 lead. Katie Koziarz took control at the net with a pair of tip-kills while Romanchok and Stone each had block-kill.
“I think we saw where the defense was lining up and kind of realized that certain spots were open,” said Koziarz, who confounded Amherst with numerous tip-kills. “I kill is a kill. Whatever works.”
The Comets made a late run in the third as Small picked up five of her team-high nine kills, but it was too little, too late.
“You have to be at your very, very best,” Comets coach Laurie Cogan said about facing Avon. “Tonight we missed some assignments, and with them … they make you pay for every mistake you make. We just made a few too many.
“There isn’t any one thing that we did wrong. You can’t pinpoint and say if we did this or that better — it was just a little bit of everything. A little bit of everything adds up.”
Contact James Brady at 329-7135 or email@example.com.
Avon 25-25-25, Amherst 15-22-20
KILLS: (AM) Tory Small 9, Sarah Weigand 8; (AV) Sydney Stone 10, Katie Koziarz 9, Katie Sopko 8
ASSISTS: (AM) London Voss 25; (AV) Maddy Jerdonek 30
DIGS: (AM) Audrey McConihe 30, Erika Eischen 12, Ellie Schenk 12; (AV) Erin Gardner 17, Jerdonek 16, Taylor Dallas 12
ACES: (AM) Eischen, Weiegand, Sydney Siegenthaler 1 each; (AV) Dallas 3, Gardner 2
BLOCK-KILLS: (AM) Faith Rico 4, Sarah Farley 4; (AV) Gillian Romanchok, Stone, Koziark, Emma Abfal 2 each