STOW: The top two seeds — Hudson and Kent Roosevelt — lived up to their rankings Tuesday night in Division I district semifinal volleyball matches at Stow.
Both teams relied on powerful hitters and efficient defenses to advance to the district final at 6 p.m. Thursday.
No. 2 seed Kent Roosevelt (22-2) defeated Twinsburg (11-14) three sets to one in the opener and top-seeded Hudson (18-6) beat Walsh Jesuit (11-13) by the same in the nightcap.
Senior Cortnee Bowser and sophomore Sophi Cudworth guided Kent Roosevelt to victory by scores of 25-17, 17-25, 25-22 and 25-17.
“This is the first time in Roosevelt history that the volleyball team has ever made it to the finals for district, so that is very exciting,” Bowser said.
Seniors Krissy Mummey and Celia Cristofoli led Hudson to its win by scores of 25-16, 25-18, 16-25 and 25-16.
“I am beyond proud of the girls,” Hudson coach Jessica Ciborek said. “I know this was a big match for them, despite us being seeded first and Walsh 12th. Us and Walsh have always been main competitors especially in this district and we really haven’t gotten the opportunity to play them in this district in several years.”
Cristofoli had 16 kills for Hudson. Mummey and junior Jordan Mackay both had 12 kills.
Hudson regrouped from a tough third set and jumped out to a 9-1 lead in the fourth set.
“[Junior] Gina Holland with her serve to start off that match was huge,” Ciborek said. “[Junior] Allison Rense came in off the bench and played excellent. Being able to pass the ball so that we could run our middles was the difference.
“Definitely our middles, Krissy and Jordan, were key as they have been all season long. Gina was terrific and Celia had a really great game from the outside.”
Hudson sophomore Amanda Przybocki had 43 assists and junior Sarah Young had 15 digs. Holland had 17 service points and Mackay blocked seven shots.
Senior Kyra Coundourides paced Walsh with 12 kills, 25 assists and two blocks. Senior Kit McCarty added seven kills and junior Carolyn Bauer had 22 digs.
“Our game plan was to make sure they couldn’t get the ball to [Mummey] and [Mackay],” Walsh coach Andrew Kerr said. “We did it with our serving and our aggressive offense in that third set.”
Bowser totaled 23 kills and 13 digs for Roosevelt. Cudworth scored the final point in Roosevelt’s win with an ace, and finished with 15 kills and 14 digs.
“This is amazing,” Cudworth said. “This is the most exciting experience in my life.”
Seniors Mylane Bella-Smuts (25 assists) and Hayley Chlad (four blocks) were also key for Roosevelt along with junior Cat Miller (17 assists).
“This is extremely exciting,” Roosevelt coach Tracy Reschke said. “The girls knew that coming in. All year they kind of rose to the occasion. When it came down to the conference title [Portage Trail Metro Division] with Crestwood, the girls had the heart and desire. They rose up and played better to win. The same thing happened tonight. We got down in Game 2, but they fought back in Game 3. We were down 20-18, but they showed that heart and desire to come back and clinch Game 3.”
Senior Mackenzie Harrison had 23 kills for the Tigers. Senior Natalie Talentino added 24 digs and sophomore Zoe Rivet had 38 assists.
“Our goal was to come in and play hard,” Twinsburg coach Tonia Brennen said. “We had a game plan together to be the most effective against them and our girls really executed that to the best of their ability and played with a lot of heart.”
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the high school blog at http://www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MBeavenABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.