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In an intriguing early season volleyball match, powerhouse St. Ursula dispatched visiting Perrysburg in straight sets on Monday night.
The Arrows (3-0) utilized a balanced attack from their hitters, backed up by strong defensive play from their back row specialists.
A trio of junior hitters led St. Ursula to the 25-15, 25-14, 25-15 sweep of the Yellow Jackets. Junior hitter Mckenna Jordan and Elizabeth Coil led the way with nine kills apiece. Fellow junior Kerrigan McVicker had eight kills, followed by All-Ohioan senior Lauran Graves, who had six.
“It was a good balance between our offense and defense,” veteran coach John Buck said. “We had balanced kills tonight, and that makes it harder for the other team to be able to defend if you can spread the ball out.”
Perrysburg (1-1) came out of the gate strong but then faltered with too many unforced mental errors. Senior Savannah Miller led the Yellow Jackets with nine kills, followed by senior Audra Appold (six) and senior Shannon Fastnacht (five).
“We got in our own way,” Perrysburg coach Jamie Babcock said. “Physically we can hang with anyone, but mentally we have some work to do.”
Perrysburg committed just eight total errors in a season-opening win against Notre Dame last Thursday. The Yellow Jackets had 26 on Monday.
“At this level you can't have that happen against a low-error team like St. Ursula,” Babcock said.
St. Ursula has advanced to the regional tournament in 13 of 14 seasons and finished second in the state last year. Perrysburg suffered a season-ending loss to St. Ursula in the Division I district finals as the Arrows snapped the Yellow Jackets' 20-match winning streak.
But Perrysburg jumped out to a 7-4 lead in the opening game. However, the Arrows finished with a 21-8 run as the Yellow Jackets committed 13 errors. Perrysburg was within one point at 12-11, but McVicker and Jordan come on strong.
The Arrows did not trail in the second game. Perrysburg went on a 7-2 run to pull within 19-14. But Coil did the damage down the stretch with her kills and Maurissa Leonard had two aces for the Arrows, who scored seven unanswered points.
St. Ursula then vaulted out to a 6-1 lead in the third game and then Graves, who earned all-state first team honors last season, heated up late in the contest.
“I'm really happy because Perrysburg has some really good players,” Buck said.
He said he was pleased with the all-around effort.
“People know about Coil and Graves. But McVicker and Jordan are bringing a lot of heat,” Buck said. “They help us put even more pressure on.”
Buck also singled out the back-row play of Jamye Cox, Ryann Cox, and Leonard.
“There is a reason why we play these teams so early in the season,” Babcock said. “I'd rather know now that we have work to do. It's a wake-up call for us.”