There’s likely nothing more frustrating for a volleyball team than to win the first two games and wind up losing the match.
It happened to Wellington on Sept. 6. The Dukes were up 2-0 on Brookside but crashed. That hasn’t happened to them since.
“We hit a wall,” Wellington coach Marsha Coultrip said. “Not to make excuses, but we talked about it at the next practice and how we can’t let fatigue get to us. We have to be able to finish.”
The Dukes haven’t needed to finish over their last six matches. They have delivered the quick knockout each time. They have not had to go to five games since Brookside. Wellington, in fact, had lost just one game during the streak heading into tonight’s match against Brooklyn.
Four of their victories were in tournaments, in which the Dukes swept New London and Vermilion on Sept. 8 and Admiral King and Parma on Saturday. The Saturday victories were particularly sweet for Division III Wellington as both came against Division I foes.
The real confidence builder, however, was a defeat of Lutheran West in the Longhorns’ own building.
“The key was the Lutheran West match, because they run a fast offense,” Coultrip said about the three-game win over one of the area’s strongest small-school programs. “But we got a total team effort. I can’t point to one kid who stood out above all others.”
Maybe not, but Coultrip did mention that her two setters, Morgan Brasee and Melanie Conklin, have been running the offense beautifully during the streak and that the team passing percentage was in the neighborhood of 90.
Comets are hot
The other area team not in first place in its conference but still on a roll is Amherst. The Comets have won their last seven matches to stay a game behind Olmsted Falls in the Southwestern Conference.
“I’m really pleased,” Amherst coach Laurie Cogan said. “The thrill is back in Amherst volleyball. The girls are progressing at the rate I had hoped they would progress by this point in the season. I still think this can be one of the best teams we’ve ever had here.”
The Comets began the season losing in five games to perennial state powerhouse Magnificat, after holding a 2-1 lead heading into the fourth game. The same happened against defending SWC champion Olmsted Falls in the Comets’ third match five days later. Magnificat and Falls are tied for No. 10 in the Division I poll. Amherst is No. 15.
“We lost to two outstanding teams, but we didn’t play well,” Cogan said. “Yes, it went five games in each. We did well without playing well.”
Amherst is playing well now, according to Cogan, albeit against decidedly less-mighty rivals. But the Comets have won 18 straight games and gotten a scare only once, when they needed to go beyond regulation to win the opener with Brecksville, 26-24.
“That was a scare, but that’s our conference,” Cogan added. “Almost every team in the SWC is strong in some area. It’s just they’re not strong all around, like us and Olmsted Falls. That’s what separates our programs.”
The Comets have their rematch with Falls a week from tonight. Meanwhile, Amherst is headed for a defense of its Hubbard Tournament championship. The host team is likely Amherst’s toughest hurdle. Hubbard (7-1) is ranked 15th in Division II, having lost its first of the year Saturday to No. 16 Circleville.
Jenny King earned her first-ever varsity coaching victory when Admiral King defeated Warrensville Heights in five games on Thursday.
It’s not that King wasn’t satisfied with winning. She just thought it shouldn’t have been as much of a nailbiter as it was.
“The girls kept it close for some reason,” King said. “Sometimes they play very well. At other times we make dumb mistakes. It’s lack of experience. I have only three girls with varsity experience and only one of those is a senior.”
It’s not lack of talent, according to King and those who have seen the Admirals in action. The coach believes her team was miles above Warrensville Heights in athletic ability.
“People tell me, ‘Your team has so much talent,’” she said. “I think so, too. We just wait too long to turn it on.”
Back to the books
Cari Greetham is back attending classes at Cedarville (Ohio) University after missing all of the 2006-07 school year battling leukemia. She underwent a bone marrow transplant a year ago this month.
Greetham was a member of the CU volleyball team as a freshman in 2005, after a stellar career at Wellington High School in which she was selected Lorain County, Lorain County conference and Division III district Player of the Year.
Greetham is listed on the Cedarville Roster, as a 5-foot-8 outside hitter, but has yet to appear in any of the Yellow Jackets’ 13 matches so far.
Contact Steve Byrne at 329-7135 or email@example.com with news for this notebook or nominations for player of the week.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Courtney Jarvis, Amherst
POSITION: Outside hitter
LAST WEEK: Led the Comets to three-game victories over Southwestern Conference rivals North Olmsted and Westlake with 64-of-69 hitting and 30 kills. Had seven digs, six blocks and
84-percent serve receiving against North Olmsted and eight digs in the victory over Westlake.
PARENTS: Randy and Linda
OTHER SPORTS: Basketball
DOWN TIME: Likes to read and watch movies in her free time. Her favorite types of books are suspense novels. Her favorite movie genres are thrillers and comedies. She also tested into a television class at Amherst Steele High School, learning the ropes in television production.
FUTURE PLANS: Will attend Akron University and play intercollegiate volleyball. Courtney hasn’t ruled out a career in television, but will likely be majoring in early childhood education. She has worked with young children at volleyball clinics.
Amanda Medvetz, Elyria
POSITION: Outside hitter
LAST WEEK: Had 17 kills and 17 digs in a five-game victory over Strongsville. Had five kills and 11 digs in a four-game loss to seventh-ranked Solon. Combined for 24 kills, 20 digs and six service aces as Elyria won the Rocky River Invitational on Saturday.
PARENTS: Rick and Patti
DOWN TIME: Relaxes by listening to rap, hip-hop and R&B music. Says she does not have a favorite artist.
FUTURE PLANS: Hopes to attend college and study forensic sciences.