WADSWORTH — The Wadsworth Grizzlies are halfway home in their quest to win the Suburban League volleyball championship.
Senior outside hitter Julie Bassett blasted a match-high 16 kills Tuesday, leading Wadsworth to a 25-14, 25-14, 25-20 victory over Highland.
The intra-county win allowed the Grizzlies (12-1, 7-0) to complete the first half of their SL schedule with a perfect record — one game ahead of Copley — and remain unbeaten at home this year.
“Watching Wadsworth play was just like watching the (Super Bowl champion) Saints last night: They’re just so impressive,” Hornets coach Jeff McDivitt said. “They both have that unspoken confidence that only comes from winning.
“Even when things got close in the third game tonight and we got within 21-19, they never panicked or flinched. That’s the kind of program you try and emulate.”
The defending Barberton Division I District champion Grizzlies looked like a well-oiled machine despite playing without starting middle hitter Rachel Jones (lower right leg injury).
All-Ohio player Julie Bassett came within one kill of equaling her career high with 16, while fellow senior outside hitter Elliot Georgiadis had nine kills and three assists. Senior setter Sarah White also played at her usual high level with 31 assists and five kills.
“We really needed Julie to step up tonight, and she was dominant,” Wadsworth coach Jill Quayle said of Bassett. “She was very fast offensively and she got to every ball on the court (defensively).
“Julie isn’t the loudest or most demonstrative player around, but I love coaching her because she is a leader by presence and example.”
Libero Elaine Zollinger added 25 digs and a match-high four aces for the Grizzlies, who also got five kills from outside hitter Robyn Rotterschmidt and effective work from defensive specialist Alyssa Horton. Their other impact player was freshman Peyton Booth, who collected six kills and a match-high six blocks in her varsity debut.
Highland (4-10, 1-6) was paced by senior setter Katherine Knyszek, who had 18 assists, and libero Missy Doak, who scooped up everything Wadsworth sent her way. Margaux Yerian was the top hitter with six kills, while Melissa Bush made two blocks.
“Katherine and Missy are both so steady on the court, which is great because they play the two positions you most want to be consistent from match to match,” McDivitt said. “Our hitters really didn’t show up tonight, but (Knyszek and Doak) were great keeping balls alive.”
The contest also served as a reunion for Quayle and her former players on the Hornets. She piloted Highland in 2008, along with current Grizzlies assistants Aimey Reynolds and Bill Quayle, and coached 10 of the 11 players that saw action Tuesday.
“It was tough because I love those girls and I still miss them,” she said. “It was really great to see all of them again, and to see how much they’ve grown up as players and as people.”
The Grizzlies have recorded seven sweeps in their 12 wins, but this marked their first since Sept. 9. Their lone loss came at Walsh Jesuit.
• Wadsworth’s junior varsity was a 25-17, 25-12 winner. Leah Takacs had six kills and four blocks, Rachel Goddard made 18 digs and Ali McCauley dished out 17 assists for the Grizzlies.
Contact Brian Dulik at firstname.lastname@example.org.