GRANGER TWP. — Practices are about to get a whole lot harder for the Highland volleyball team, and that’s perfectly fine with the Hornets.
Outside hitter Katherine Davis fired a match-high 16 kills and setter Paige Brenner had 24 assists and eight kills Tuesday, leading Copley to a 25-19, 25-16, 25-15 Suburban League American Conference win over Highland.
Freshman Julia Shaw delivered four of her season-high 10 kills in the third game for the Hornets (2-4, 1-3), who dropped their third straight contest, all via sweeps within the conference.
“Being 2-4 shouldn’t be a something that defines our season, but we need to learn not to take anything for granted,” junior setter Alaina Scavuzzo said. “We talked about that in the locker room because we haven’t been bringing our best in the last few matches.
“Coach (Jenna Mack) told us she was going to make practice a lot more intense starting tomorrow. At this point, we need it because we’re not playing to our potential.”
Scavuzzo led by example, as usual, with 17 assists, three kills and three aces against the Indians (3-5, 2-2). Junior libero Anna Lanier was solid defensively and had two helpers, while senior outside hitter Hannah Zuro chipped in five kills and two blocks.
The most intriguing player for Highland, though, was Shaw. The 5-foot-7 outside hitter displayed nice chemistry with her setter and showcased a variety of attacks, gaining confidence throughout the 90-minute match.
“I wasn’t thinking tonight. I was just going out and playing,” she said. “That’s what I need to do because we’re all really tough on ourselves. When things don’t go our way, we need to get that negativity out of our heads, not dwell on it. You can’t play well when you’re overthinking everything you do.”
Scavuzzo was impressed with Shaw’s mature attitude, along with her developing skills.
“I can really count on Julia to put the ball down and she’s really good in the back row, digging everything,” Scavuzzo said. “She’s also one of the quickest players on the team, so I can adjust and get her the ball in different spots.”
Junior Anna Back added three kills and senior Madi Zelinski made a team-best three rejections for the Hornets, who played their lone home match in September.
Copley outside hitter Riley Hohman had seven kills, middle hitter Rachel Peters collected six kills and a match-high seven blocks, and middle hitter Erin Matthies had three kills and three blocks.
“Our aggressiveness just wasn’t good enough,” Scavuzzo said.
Mack agreed, saying, “Their outsides (Davis and Hohman) brought a huge amount of fire and their setter (Brenner) adds so much aggression with her great court awareness. We didn’t raise ourselves up to their level.”
Highland, which plays its next nine matches on the road, won’t return to its gym until Oct. 2 against Aurora.
“Our student section gave us a nice boost tonight and we appreciated them being here,” Scavuzzo said. “Hopefully, they’ll keep supporting us the rest of the season.”