By BRIAN DULIK
PARMA â€” Brunswickâ€™s volleyball team entered this season with high expectations. At this point, it has exceeded every one of them.
The Blue Devils clinched at least a share of the Northeast Ohio Conference River Division championship Wednesday with a 25-13, 25-15, 25-12 win at Normandy. It is Brunswickâ€™s first league crown in eight years and just its second since 1985.
â€œIâ€™ve wanted this since I was a freshman, so for all of us to pull together and make it happen is amazing,â€ said outside hitter Brandy Lack, who had a match-high 13 kills and a team-best 16 digs. â€œKnowing weâ€™re going to have a championship banner hanging in our gym is so exciting. You couldnâ€™t ask for a better senior season.â€
The Blue Devils (13-4, 8-0) will claim the title outright by beating Garfield Heights or Medina. The Bees can still tie Brunswick, but must win out and have the Bulldogs pull off an enormous upset.
Seeing as the Blue Devils have yet to lose a single game in the division, the only question is when, not if, they will be the solo champs.
â€œWe are excited tonight, believe me, but our goal is to go 10-0 in the league,â€ coach Mande Pyzik said. â€œItâ€™s possible because everyone on this team takes part in our success. The girls all do their jobs.â€
That was the case again against the Invaders (8-12, 3-5), as a plethora of Brunswick players contributed to the win, including all four 12th-graders. Kristen Szutkowski delivered 34 assists, Meghan Morabith had four aces and served the title-clinching point, and Lindsey Fletcher collected five kills and three blocks.
Junior Mikaela Lengal dominated the second game and finished with nine kills and seven blocks, while sophomore Kelly Merholz shined in the third and had six kills.
â€œWe kept our focus all night and played up to our potential,â€ Fletcher said. â€œEverybody hit the ball great and we dug everything. Itâ€™s a thrill knowing all the hard work weâ€™ve put in helped us win a league title.â€
Dulik may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 330-721-4059.