Lady Elkers dominate Sheffield

After a sluggish start, Ridgway volleyball dispatched of Sheffield easily in the final two sets to complete a 3-0 (25-21, 25-9, 25-12) victory over the Lady Wolverines Tuesday night at Ridgway Area High School. The two teams were tied at 9-all in the first before Ridgway was able to create some distance with a 5-0 run. Sierra Kos had all five service points during this flurry while Katie Oknefski and Maria Buhler had kills. “Maria Buhler did a good job,” Ridgway coach Janet Redmond said. “She’s one you can depend on.” Sheffield would hang around and get the set tied at 19-all. Ridgway would score a pair of points before the Lady Wolverines would get within one at 21-20. Sheffield then had a serving error before an Oknefski kill and a Mandie Leithner ace had Ridgway at set point up 24-20. After a serve out, Sheffield could not handle a return properly to give Ridgway the first set by a 25-21 margin. “We had that first-game syndrome,” Ridgway coach Janet Redmond said. “We don’t come out and start playing our best that first game. We got to really work on coming out and wanting to play and know where we’re at on the floor. Once we got it together, we got a lot of passes up, good passes.” The Lady Elkers started strong in the second set, taking a quick 9-3 advantage. After the Lady Wolverines added a pair of points, Leithner had a kill and a block. Jenna Hoffman served two aces to push Ridgway ahead 13-5. Ridgway closed out the second set in dominating fashion with a 10-1 run already leading 15-8. Leithner started the run with eight service points. After Sheffield earned a point, Kos would close out the set with an ace. “Sierra Kos is really coming around,” Redmond said. “We’re really trying to work on our hitting and she’s starting to hit harder, right down on the court which is nice to see. You want to see improvement with the girls.” The teams split the first four points in the third set before the Lady Elkers would score five of the next six to take a 9-5 lead. Sheffield would score three straight points to cut the margin to one at 9-8. That would be as close as Sheffield would get as Ridgway would take a 16-4 run to close out the match with a 25-12 third-set win. Dani Shirey had a kill for Ridgway in the third set.Ridgway’s serving struggled, especially in the first set. “One thing I’m kind of disappointed in is our serving,” Redmond said. “That was terrible. I think that’s the most we’ve had. We eliminate those and start playing right off the bat from that first game, we’ll start beating some good teams.” Oknefski led Ridgway with 13 kills, including the kill which clinched the match. Leithner finished with six kills. Ridgway is scheduled to play at Curwensville Thursday at 6 p.m. Redmond wants to emphasize better starts to matches as the season is near the halfway point. “You play those better teams and you play like that the first game, your focus is a little bit off, it’s hard to get them back up,” Redmond said. “We’re right there with the good teams, we can’t get over that hump yet. This is almost the end of the first half, we can keep working the way we are in practice and turn it around, get some more wins. It was a good night.”