WESTFIELD TWP. — For the first time since 2009, Cloverleaf’s volleyball team is off to a 2-0 start.
Even more encouraging, that early success is being fueled by a pair of sophomores.
Middle hitter Anna Kaczmarek hammered nine kills and setter Cheyenne Rose dished out a match-high 12 assists Thursday as the Colts swept Black River 25-19, 27-25, 25-20 in non-league play.
“Last year, we were good enough to be on varsity and happy to be there,” Kaczmarek said. “This season, we want to be so much better because we have something to build on.”
The 5-foot-10 Kaczmarek showed just how far she has come in the second game, when Cloverleaf rallied from a 22-19 deficit. She made back-to-back block/kills on the go-ahead and game-winning points.
Rose, meanwhile, was remarkably consistent in firing two aces in each game. She collected six of the Colts’ 13 aces and single-handedly topped the Pirates’ team total of three.
“Cheyenne did great setting the girls up, and she’s also our best server because she’s real consistent,” Cloverleaf coach Jim Vaughn said. “It was fun to watch them tonight because Anna was putting down kills, but she also was reading their hitters and getting a lot of touches at the net.”
Senior setter Sarah Swan — the other half of the 6-2 offensive scheme — added eight assists and three aces for the Colts, while junior outside hitter Mollie Easterling had five kills and senior libero Jessie Lindemeyer had six digs.
“It’s a lot of fun playing with Sarah because we can coach each other during practice,” Rose said. “That also helped us learn how to work with our hitters, which was challenging at first. But once we got the timing down with them, things have been going great.”
Senior outside hitter Makayla Koerner led Black River with six kills, while senior middle hitter Paige Rook had five kills and six blocks.
The Pirates (1-1) also received 11 assists from senior setter Emily Cartwright and a match-high 13 digs from junior libero Jamie Hozan. They opened their season with a thrilling five-game win at Lucas.
“We shot ourselves in the foot a lot tonight,” said Black River coach Courtney Dieter, whose squad committed 32 errors. “We’re trying to work in so many young players that we tend to make youthful mistakes.
“The biggest question we’ve got to answer is: How do you keep momentum once you get it?”
The Colts somehow managed to keep their momentum midway through the match when junior outside hitter Paige Barnum suffered a major right knee injury.
Barnum, who was making her varsity debut, fell to the floor while moving laterally at the net and immediately grabbed her knee. She remained on the court for more than a half-hour — with trainers and emergency medical personnel keeping her injured leg stationary — before being transported to the hospital in an ambulance.
“We wanted to finish the match strong because of Paige,” Rose said. “Even though we were playing, we were thinking about her the whole time.”
Kaczmarek echoed that sentiment, saying, “We dedicated this match to Paige. She’s our teammate and we’re hoping for the best.”
Cloverleaf’s junior varsity team also is 2-0 after beating the Pirates 25-7, 25-15. Janel Arters ripped 10 aces and Taylor Barnum had nine assists for the Colts.
Contact Brian Dulik at email@example.com.
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