June 27, 2016

Mostly sunny

Volleyball: Colts off to best start since ’09

WESTFIELD TWP. — Chemistry isn’t just the name of a high school science class. It’s also a critical component in winning volleyball.
Just ask the Cloverleaf Colts, who are off to their best start since 2009 after finishing fifth Saturday at their annual eight-team tournament.
“I have never seen our team more excited about a season, and starting the way we have has made it that much better,” said junior setter Cheyenne Rose, who dished out 63 assists at the event. “Being as close as we are, we feel like it’s natural to be this excited.”
Cloverleaf won two of its three matches on the day, which tied for the second-best record at the tournament. Junior middle hitter Samantha Flora delivered 14 kills and seven points as the Colts knocked off Valley Forge 12-25, 25-17, 25-19 in the fifth-place match.
Olmsted Falls (3-0) claimed the title by beating defending champion Mansfield Madison (2-1), while North Canton Hoover (2-1) defeated Elyria Catholic (1-2) in the third-place match. Cloverleaf (2-1), Valley Forge (1-2), Norwayne (1-2), and Bedford (0-3) followed in order.
“It was nice to come out of the weekend with a 2-1 finish,” said Colts coach Veronica Briggs, whose squad is 5-2 on the season. “We started off a little slow today, but once we woke up, we played well.”
Rose did a little bit everything in Cloverleaf’s tournament-opening 25-21, 23-25, 25-16 loss to Elyria Catholic. The second-year starter scored 11 service points with four aces, four kills, and 18 assists.
Flora contributed seven kills and eight digs against the Panthers, while junior libero Maryssa Starman had 11 digs.
“Our loss was actually our best-played match of the day,” Briggs said. “Maryssa was very solid for us in the back row and at the service line.”
Starman recorded a team-high 34 digs over the three-match set. She also scored 13 points with five aces in Cloverleaf’s 25-13, 25-20 rout of Bedford, which featured seven points from junior outside hitter Brooke Bell and five kills from senior outside hitter Paige Barnum.
The Colts saved their most dramatic performance for last, taking the final two games from the Patriots as Rose utilized all of her weapons in amassing 30 assists.
In addition to Flora’s match-high 14 kills, Barnum had nine and sophomore middle hitter Janel Arters pounded eight. The aforementioned trio also combined for 18 points in continuing to write the feel-good story of the young season in Medina County.
Cloverleaf hasn’t been this successful, this soon since it opened with 11 straight wins in 2009 en route to its third consecutive Suburban League championship.
“Coach Briggs has taught us that we do everything as a team — no matter what — and that’s made our confidence go up with every match,” Rose said.
“We were able to get our hitters one-on-one at the net a lot today, which is why it was so effective. They had a greater chance of getting the point and allowed us to stay on top as much as possible throughout the day.”
Contact Brian Dulik at brisports@hotmail.com.