HUBER HEIGHTS — On Saturday, Oct. 3, the Wayne girls volleyball team hosted a tri-match, falling to Princeton, but defeating Egewood.
The Lady Warriors have seemed to struggle with early match games this year, according to Coach John Herzer. The Warriors opened the contest with Princeton and took a commanding lead early by serving aggressively and rolling off ace after ace from the service line.
“Princeton struggled early with their passing and we served aggressive enough to force that to happen,” said Herzer.
Wayne jumped out to a quick 12-4 lead from the service line.
“We hit really well with Akaila Howard and Katelyn Hill combining for 20 kills in the match,” said Herzer.
Princeton started passing better and Wayne hit into several swinging errors in a row to give Princeton the momentum. Princeton came back to within four points at 22-18, but Wayne finished the match by winning set one 25-22.
Set two was a game of constant lead changes before Princeton won 25-18.
“Princeton had a stellar hitter in Olivia Lohmeier and she hit smart and found holes in our defense with almost every swing,” said Herzer. “She also provided a great height disadvantage for us. She hit from everywhere and was successful with that. When Princeton really needed a kill they went to her. We still were able to answer her kills with our own but we never could find momentum.”
Wayne dropped the third set, 25-20.
“We played well, there is not a single phase of the game I didn’t think we did well,” said Herzer. “Give Princeton a little credit there. They were just a little better than us today.”
In match two against Edgewood, Herzer said that Wayne fall into a lull and never ever did find the excitement they had in match one.However, they won both sets by identical scores of 25-21.
“Edgewood was a very scrappy team,” said Herzer. “They made us earn every point we could get. We had better hitters and I think when you compare both teams we were pretty evenly matched. Both teams passed and defended very well.”
Herzer said Wayne won due to Howard, Hill and Maya Dunson.
“They hit well and very smart,” said Herzer.
Wayne only had seven killing errors on the day and had 20 kills.
“Maya has been setting very well for us,” said Herzer. “Our hitters will tell you since we started running a 5-1 around her that their hitting percentages have gone up. Maya is now attacking very well from the front row and she catches teams off guard. She thinks outside the box now and that has helped us”
Herzer said that Wayne’s youngest middle, Kayla Stephens, “hit very well by converting five swings into four kills.” She also led Wayne with three blocks on Saturday.
“We are a very young team and we have improved from game to game,” said Herzer. “I’m still looking for all of my girls to have a great game at the same time and I am very hopeful it will happen at the start of the GWOC tournament starting this week.”
The Warriors were led on the day by Howard with 19 kills. Hill added 15, Kayla Stephens had five and Dunson contributed with four.
Wayne had 12 aces against Princeton and only two against Edgewood. Stephens led with five aces on the day.
“Dunson had 36 assists today and gave our hitters great opportunities to hit all day long,” said Herzer.
Sydney Herzer led Wayne with 34 digs and Morgan Santos had 21.
“Sydney did a fantastic job at block coverage today and she extended numerous rallies for us,” said Coach Herzer. “Our serve/receive was spectacular today. I don’t want to take away anything from the other players, but when I have Morgan, Sydney and Tyson Kinnel in the back row, I have all the confidence in the world in these three to give me a perfect pass every time. It doesn’t always happen, but I believe we can pass with anyone in the GWOC (Greater Western Ohio Conference).”
The Warriors will start the GWOC tournament on Tuesday, Oct. 6.
Reach Greg Smart at 937-684-8088 or on Twitter @HH_Courier.com.