Karen Kase | The Gazette
NORTH ROYALTON — Contrary to its fast start this season, the Medina volleyball team began slowly and sluggishly Tuesday in a Northeast Ohio Conference Valley Division match with North Royalton.
Despite the unseasonably warm temperatures outside and inside the gym, the Bees were anything but hot in losing to the Bears 25-18, 25-14, 25-21.
“We were very flat,” Bees coach Connie Daum said. “You play like you practice, and we practiced like that yesterday. I kept hoping they would snap out of it. Ksenia (Klue) started hitting the ball and we got fired up in Game 3, but against a team like North Royalton, you can’t wait that long.
“This wasn’t the same team that played against Brunswick. There wasn’t enough hype for us around this game, but one of our goals is to win conference. To do that, you have to beat teams like Royalton, which is a very good team. This team has the heart and the intensity, but it was just missing tonight.”
Medina (8-3, 1-1) committed too many errors and quickly fell behind 7-2 in the opening game. Daum used an early timeout to urge her team to play with more intensity, but the Bees responded only in spurts over the first two games.
North Royalton (8-2, 1-1) capitalized on the errors and used an 8-1 run to close out Game 1.
With Game 2 tied 6-6, the Bears again surged ahead to win by a 10-point margin.
Medina seemed out of sync or one step behind much of the night, but the Bees made the final game interesting thanks to the energetic play of senior outside hitter Klue.
Klue found some spring in her step to post five of her team-high six kills in the final game, which featured 11 ties and a 20-20 score before the Bears pulled away.
Klue also led the team with 10 digs, while junior Ashley Pavlescak finished with 20 assists, seven digs, three blocks and four aces. Senior Erika Grumbach contributed nine digs.
“We are very hard-working, have a lot of heart and love to play this game because it is our passion,” Grumbach said. “We need to get more intense, pumped up, get our heads in it right away. We need to be all-around more focused.”
For the Bears, whose only losses this season have been to Solon and Norwalk, Holly Hetman recorded 33 assists, Allison Baird had 17 digs and Katie Baird tallied 13 kills.
“We were also a little sluggish tonight,” coach Kristin Hubbell said. “We aren’t very big this year, so we’ve got to be fast, and usually we are a lot faster than we were tonight. We are competitive, have a lot of drive and know how to win.
“We were frustrated after last week’s five-game loss (to Solon) and in starting the conference off 0-1. I think our girls had a little motivation because of that.”
North Royalton made it a sweep by winning the freshman (25-19, 25-19) and junior varsity (25-17, 25-16) contests.
Contact Karen Kase at email@example.com.