HENRIETTA TWP. — Firelands dodged a bullet in the second set, then rode a wave of momentum in the third to sweep a Patriot Athletic Conference Stars Division volleyball match Monday against Black River.
Final score: Firelands 25-18, 26-24 and 25-13.
After breezing to a 25-18 win in the first set, the Falcons (7-7, 5-4 PAC) jumped out to a 19-11 lead in the second. But the Pirates refused to fold.
Black River (4-7, 0-7) scored 10 of the next 11 points to take a 21-20 lead. They served for the set leading 24-23, but the Falcons held firm. Firelands then scored the next three points for the comeback win.
Firelands won the third set easily to take the match.
“We worked real hard not to have that ball bounce the way we needed it to at the end there,” Black River coach Courtney Dieter said of the second set.
“That set up a whole momentum shift into Game 3.”
Behind the strong serving of Kristen DeWitt and Emily Squires, Firelands rolled in the final set.
The Pirates had difficulty with DeWitt and Squires’ serves all night. DeWitt scored 14 points on her serve with three aces, while Squires added 11 points. They had just one service error each.
“The key focus is to watch your shoulder and you just have to read them on your deep serves,” DeWitt said. “You have to make sure your platform stays low and you put it where you want it. That’s about it.”
Firelands coach Jordan Kolarik liked how DeWitt and Squires played.
“She’s doing a really nice job for us on the outside and she has a pretty nasty jump-float (serve),” Kolarik said of DeWitt. “Emily Squires served well, too, and when we can put pressure on the other team with our serves it makes our jobs a lot easier when we’re getting out-of-system stuff back.”
Squires added 10 kills for Firelands, while setter Joselyn Moquete handed out 29 assists.
Dieter said her team’s problem receiving serve were uncharacteristic.
“Usually that’s not our struggle,” she said. “We did a decent job of putting the ball down tonight when we could get it there, and consistency on our attack has been our biggest issue. We’ll go back to the drawing board for (tonight) against Buckeye. Hopefully we can pass the ball a little better.”
Olivia Rayk led Black River with 11 kills and three blocks while Morgan Young had 17 digs and five kills.
Kolarik liked how her team came back from adversity, and hopes it has something to build on.
“We just lost focus for a couple of minutes and (Black River) did a nice job of fighting back,” she said. “I was glad we were able to refocus and finish the game like we did.
“I thought this was a good win for us. … We’ve been doing a nice job the last couple of weeks. We made some adjustments and they seem to be working out well.”