HUDSON — The best volleyball team in the Suburban League squares off with the top squad in the Chagrin Valley Conference tonight at 7:30.
Three-time reigning SL champion Wadsworth (23-2) challenges eight-time defending CVC kingpin Kenston (18-7) in the Hudson Division I Regional semifinals, setting up a battle of wills that promises to be interesting and intense.
“Kenston is a solid team and has had a successful season, which is to be expected at this point in the tournament,” Grizzlies coach Jill Quayle said. “(But) we have prepared — and we want this win.”
Both teams have had incredible success in their leagues in recent years, with Wadsworth going 42-0 since Quayle took over in 2010.
Led by outside hitter Peyton Booth, middle hitter Ciera Koons, setter Haley Beavers and libero Rachel Goddard, the Grizzlies only lost one game in 14 conference matches this fall. Their non-league schedule was tough, as well, with Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit and Stow accounting for their two defeats.
“We set team goals before the season, which were to win the SL and make it to regionals,” Booth said. “We’ve done both, which feels so good, but we’re not stopping here.”
As Goddard noted, Barberton District champion Wadsworth also hasn’t been shy about stating its third, ultimate goal to anyone who has asked.
“We want to make it to state, which we have talked about since the summer,” she said. “All along, we’ve believed we have the talent to do it.
“Our confidence has been building up with every match, so we all feel real good by this point. We’re going to do whatever we need to in order to win.”
The Bombers have been even more thorough in destroying their CVC foes. Kenston ended its regular season with its 100th consecutive win since rejoining the league in 2005.
Current coach Dan Coughlin — a Brunswick graduate and former Black River coach — is responsible for the last 50 victories, while older brother Brian logged the first 50.
The Bombers’ top player is outside hitter Jaime Kosiorek, a junior who has committed to Ohio University and is as effective serving as she is attacking. She fired a match-high 23 kills with a team-leading 15 digs and seven aces as Kenston swept Solon in the Solon District final.
Hitters Emily Newell and Taylor Curtis are Kenston’s primary net defenders, while setter Lori Zagar is coming off a 55-assist effort against Solon.
“Jaime swings well and has a good jump-serve,” Quayle said. “Blocking will also be a huge factor in this matchup.”
The Bombers are making their second regional appearance in three years, while the Grizzlies reached the Sweet 16 for the fourth time since 2004. The winner will face Walsh or Willoughby South on Saturday night for a trip to state.
“We made it to the district semis in my first year at Wadsworth, then went to the district finals last year,” Quayle said, breaking into a smile. “This year, we’re going to regionals, but it would be even better if we can take the next step right now.”
Contact Brian Dulik at firstname.lastname@example.org.