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JOHNSONBURG â€“ Looking to build momentum throughout the 2012 season, the Ramettes got off to a good start on the volleyball court with a 3-1 (25-9, 25-22, 15-25, 25-13) win Tuesday night in their home opener against visiting Sheffield.
â€śI think all our hitters did well and [senior] Sam Bevacqua served quite well,â€ť said Johnsonburg head varsity volleyball coach Bill Shuey following the win. â€śWe were also able to make some good sets out of bad passes. I guess itâ€™s a good start.â€ť
The home team jumped out to a quick 10-2 start punctuated by a block from Junior Chelsea Benson to set the tone early. Benson later came up with three aces out of four straight service points for an 18-3 advantage in the first set. Johnsonburg would eventually cruise to a 25-9 margin to take the first set.
â€śI thought we played well in the first game,â€ť Shuey said. â€śIt was team volleyball, we were covering well, our passes and serves were good, and we really put the ball down and it showed with the score.â€ť
The second set was evenly matched at the beginning but the Lady Wolverines started to pull away midway through the action, and held an 8-point lead.
â€śOur problem in the second game was that we didnâ€™t pass well and obviously Sheffield did some good things and hit the ball well,â€ť Shuey said. â€śWe looked confused at times and that happens sometimes.
â€śItâ€™s a bit of the inexperience and you just have to get locked on mentally but we were lucky to come back.â€ť
Down by six, Bevacqua served well and her teammates took care of the rest to knot the score at 20-all, culminating with an ace from Bevacqua.
Later, down by a point, Johnsonburg took advantage of a Sheffield service error to tie the score at 21-21; the teams would trade points to 22-22 before senior Brittany Watts broke the stalemate with a soft tap at the net for a 23-22 lead. An errant return from Sheffield pushed the margin to two before Benson ended the set with a kill after a lengthy volley for a two games to none advantage.
The home team had little to celebrate in the third game, however, as they quickly plummeted to a 10-point deficit early and were never able to fully recover.
An ace from sophomore Brianna Cardoni trimmed the margin to 14-5 but the Lady Wolverines took advantage of some lineup changes by the Ramettes to force a fourth game.
â€śIn the third, we were trying some different things with the lineups and I think there was some confusion on the playersâ€™ part at times,â€ť Shuey said. â€śWe had a short time period to working on these different things and we were committed to trying a few things [Tuesday] and at times it looked OK. We will keep working on it.â€ť
Johnsonburg made up an early deficit in the fourth game before taking total control. A Bevacqua ace tied the score at 11-all and a kill from senior Allyson Wheeler upped the score 12-11. Watts would later lay down a kill followed by another Bevacqua ace for a 15-11 lead. A tip at the net from Watts would later give the home team a 5-point cushion.
Watts continued to come up big up front, oftentimes catching the Sheffield hitters off-guard with soft shots that just cleared the net.
Watts scored another tip to set the score at 18-13 before Sheffield hit an errant ball into the net. Another Sheffield miscue gave the Ramettes a 20-13 lead and a Watts kill stretched the lead to eight points.
Watts ended the contest with another point at the net for 24-13 before a crucial block ended the match.
â€śWe had maybe nine kills by Brittany Watts in the fourth set and that doesnâ€™t happen without good passing and good setting,â€ť Shuey said. â€śWe passed the ball much better in the fourth set, quite similar to what we did in the first set. I think we found some girls who have been working hard and it shows with their ability on the court.
â€śA lot of it has to do with them reading things a little better and seeing things happen on the court before they actually happen. Time will tell.â€ť