Hilltoppers Hang On for 3-1 Win
September 15, 2022

The Riverside Beavers came into The Barn on a two-game winning streak. The Hilltoppers came in on a four-game winning streak. One team was going to have to give.

The Riverside Beavers came into The Barn on a two-game winning streak. The Hilltoppers came in on a four-game winning streak. One team was going to have to give.

After dropping a five-set loss to Kenston Sept. 1, the Beavers swept Normandy and Willoughby South. Chardon’s last loss came Aug. 27 to the Eagles of Avon.

To start the match, the visiting Beavers would jump out to a 7-1 lead before Head Coach Alison Fisher directed her team to a timeout. A double block by the Beavers, and a recorded service error, helped stop a 6-0 run.

Junior outside hitter Emma McCartney got her first kill of the evening at 8-3. A couple blocks at the net from senior Annabel Frieden forced Jessica Marut to talk things over with her team.

Back and forth we would go in the first set. Freshman Addison Koppelman’s kill midway through the set have the Hilltoppers their first lead since 1-0. Koppelman’s kill gave her team a 14-13 lead. Samantha Volpe’s kill down the line, and a hitting error from the Hilltoppers, notched the set at 15 apiece.

Hannah Creveling recorded back-to-back kills, posing that the Hilltoppers were in danger, trailing 19-16.

McCartney’s laser down the line swung the momentum back to the home team’s favor. Knotted up again at 21, the Beavers were forced to call a timeout. After the timeout, the two teams exchanged points. The Beavers eventually came away with the set, 29-27, after five set points.

At the beginning of the game, Coach Fisher changed our lineup, and it kind of got to us a little,” said Grace Legan when asked about her teammates’ mindset after dropping the first set. “She was telling us to get the ball over the net, be smart, and be more consistent with our serves and our hits.”

To begin the second set, the Hilltoppers came out fast, scoring three straight points before Marut called for a timeout. Creveling finally stopped the run at 4-0 with her first kill of the second set. Early in the second set, the ball bounced Chardon’s way. After an unusual scoring play by the Hilltoppers, where the ball ricocheted off of three Chardon players before falling on the Beavers’ side of the net, Marut had to unwillingly call her second timeout of the set at 11-4.

Much of the second set belonged to the home team, and it was Coach Fisher’s team that comfortably took set two 25-17.

Another early timeout taken by Marut after trailing the third, 5-3, felt like the correct call after the Beavers outscored the Hilltoppers 8-6 midway through the set. Fisher asked for a timeout after giving up three straight points, watching her team’s lead dwindle to one.

The teams swapped blocks recorded by their middles on back-to-back possessions.

When Marut’s team trailed 19-15, the Hilltoppers scored on four straight possessions, including two hitting errors and one service error, and set three would be awarded to the Hilltoppers, winning 25-17 after an attack error by Volpe on the outside.

Junior outside hitter Skylar Toth recorded a kill when her tip caught the Beavers’ defense on its heels. Koppelman recorded two kills off the block before Marut urgently called a timeout. Looking at the scoreboard, her team trailed 5-0, and the match 2-1.

A hitting error from McCartney gave the Beavers their first point in the set. After that, the Hilltoppers proved too much for their visitors. At 12-6, Marut was forced to call her final timeout of the set. Between a plethora of hitting errors, and an offense that was showing out, the Hilltoppers would run away with set three, 25-14, and the match 3-1 — extended Chardon’s streak to five.

McCartney led the way for the Hilltoppers with 14 kills on 42 swings. Toth added 12 kills, and Frieden, seven. Senior middle blocker Natalie Zemba led the way defensively with two solo blocks and assisted on four. The Hilltoppers dominated at the net with 14 total blocks, while the Beavers recorded two.

Frieden orchestrated the offensive, dishing out 39 assists and picking up nine digs. Junior libero Legan dominated for the defense, picking up 24 digs, while Toth and McCartney added 14 and 11. The Hilltoppers recorded a team-high four aces.

Obviously both of my outside hitters are very strong,” Frieden said. “I knew, in order to beat this team, I had to get my middles going. For me personally, I had to keep mixing up my spots.”

The Hilltoppers host their WRC rival on Sept. 15, the team that stripped the conference championship from them a season ago, the Kenston Bombers.

We’re hungry, and we’re ready, and we’re ready to get after it,” Frieden said. “We know we have the skill on our team, and the focus on our team, to do that this year.”