HUDSON — The Hudson volleyball team brought its “A” game Wednesday, while Wadsworth was, at best, in the “C” range.
The Explorers’ 25-17, 25-14, 25-11 victory in the Hudson Division I Regional semifinals was as swift as it was stunning. They advance to face Massillon Jackson, which disposed of sub-.500 Mayfield in three games, in Saturday’s championship.
The Grizzlies ended their season 22-4 after entering play with a 14-match win streak.
“Hudson played a great match tonight,” Wadsworth coach Jill Klingbeil said. “They definitely brought their ‘A’ game. Our girls have worked hard all season to get to this point. Unfortunately, tonight was not our night.”
Led by 6-foot-3 middle hitter Krissy Mummey, Hudson (20-6) closed the first game on a 15-7 run and never trailed after erasing a 1-0 deficit in the second.
Mummey and the Grizzlies’ rare lack of execution were the forefront. Mummey had a match-high 12 kills and won the anticipated one-on-one battle with 6-0 Wadsworth senior Ciera Koons, while Wadsworth compiled double-digit error totals in two of the three games.
All told, the Grizzlies’ miscues and Mummey’s putdowns accounted for more than 55 percent of Hudson’s points.
“We were ready for this game, but we just came out and I feel we were nervous,” Wadsworth outside hitter Jodi Johnson said. “We didn’t really know what to do when we got off to bad starts.”
While Mummey dominated the net and received support from fellow front liners Jordan Mackay (10 kills) and Allison Rense, Hudson’s defense wowed the crowd and made it difficult for Johnson or fellow outside hitter Peyton Booth to get anything going.
The Explorers used a team-wide effort to keep multiple balls alive, including successfully converting after one hit the rafters, with Celia Cristofoli (13 digs) taking charge after contributing offensively early on.
The all-out effort was something the Grizzlies didn’t see while cruising through the average Barberton District.
“They had big rallies and they mostly dug all of our hits, so that was a big factor,” Johnson said. “It gets frustrating, but we know not to think about it.”
Wadsworth’s only true opportunity to snare anything resembling momentum came in the second game. The Grizzlies fell into 8-3 and 19-9 ruts that led to Klingbeil timeouts, but clawed to within 20-14 on a Johnson kill.
Once again, however, Wadsworth had no answer for Mummey, who had three kills over the game’s final five points.
The frustration began to show at that point, as the Grizzlies committed seven errors while falling behind 8-0 in the third game. The only thing left was the final score, which was punctuated on Wadsworth’s eighth line violation while attempting to contend with Mummey at the net.
“It seemed like every time we seemed to get into a rhythm, either we were unable to finish on the rally or Hudson came up with a big kill,” Klingbeil said. “It kind of killed or momentum every time we started to get it.”
The loss was incredibly difficult for anyone wearing red to swallow, though it had yet to fully sink in because it happened with such quickness.
Johnson, though, refused to let it detract from another outstanding year in which the Grizzlies extended their Suburban League win streak to beyond 50 matches and were one of the hottest teams in Northeast Ohio for the better part of two months.
“I feel like we still accomplished great things this season,” she said. “I feel good about it.”
Contact Albert Grindle at (330) 721-4043 or firstname.lastname@example.org.