Seniors Shine in Win Over Wildcats
October 15, 2021 by Haley Adams

Entering the match, the Hilltoppers came in at 18-1 overall and 9-1 in the very talented Western Reserve Conference, while their opponents were at 11-7 overall and 4-4 in the conference.

The Mayfield Wildcats came into their Oct. 7 matchup to play spoiler on Chardon’s senior night.

Entering the match, the Hilltoppers came in at 18-1 overall and 9-1 in the very talented Western Reserve Conference, while their opponents were at 11-7 overall and 4-4 in the conference.

The teams previously met on Sept. 25, with the Hilltoppers winning the match 3-1.

Before the start of this match, Chardon’s nine seniors and eight from Mayfield were honored. Representing Chardon’s senior class were Maisie B., Kaleigh D., Shea F., Ashley N., Lauren P., Ainsley S., Claire S., Emma W., and Madelyn Z. Each was escorted by her parents and her most influential teacher at Chardon.

Head coach Allison Fisher paid tribute to six of the nine seniors in her team’s starting lineup.

A hitting error from the Hilltoppers allowed Mayfield to get on the board first, but a service error by the Wildcats gave the ball back to the home team. Opposite hitter Shea Finger picked up a solo block to even the set at five.

Back-and-forth we went early in the first set before the Wildcats went on a 11-5 run, forcing the Hilltoppers to call a timeout.

One of our main issues was miscommunication, and ball control,” Davis said.

Outside hitter Jillian Gdovin quickly became a heel in the Hilltoppers’ defense. Out of the timeout, Maya Webb gave the ball back to the Hilltoppers after a hitting error. Then Chardon strung together two more points with an ace from Davis and another hitting error for the Wildcats. The Wildcats answered with a kill out of the middle by middle blocker Hannah Peterson.

Mayfield’s head coach Rosella Glodkowski called a timeout after the Hilltoppers cut into her team’s lead, 21-20. Gdovin recorded two more kills in the first set, giving her team set point, 24-20. A service error from the Wildcats extended the first set before Peterson ended it with a tip kill out of the middle.

Mayfield picked up the first set, 25-21.

To start the second set, sophomore outside hitter Emma McCartney, also her team’s leader in kills, put the team on her back and helped the Hilltoppers take set two, 26-24. McCartney recorded two blocks and seven kills on nine swings. She also added two aces.

Chardon evened the match at one set apiece after claiming victory in set two, 26-24.

We started with a different lineup with all seniors, we tried that, and if that didn’t work, we were going to go back to our normal lineup. The lineup seemed to work,” Burlison said.

Chardon earned the first point of set three when Maya Webb recorded a hitting error for the Wildcats. McCartney would continue her hot streak by recording her first kill in the third set and extending Chardon’s lead to two. Senior Jackie Hasto recorded an ace for Glodkowski’s team to even the set at three.

Coach Fisher would call her first timeout of the third set as her team trailed 9-3. Hasto would record six points off of her serve, recording one ace in the run. But sophomore Skylar Toth stopped the run when she recorded a kill out of the timeout. Another run from the Wildcats stretched their lead to 14-6 before Toth tallied another kill out of the front row.

Mayfield led 14-7 midway through the third set.

Chardon would be forced to take their second timeout after a block set up by Kayden Coffey and assisted by Gdovin made the score 19-11 Wildcats.

Mayfield ended the third set on a 6-4 run, cruising to a 25-15 win.

Masise Burlison described the match as “rough” at one point.

With that, the Hilltoppers found themselves in a “must-win” scenario, clinging to the hopes of a WRC championship. A win would give them the chance to share with Kenston; a loss would give the Bombers outright bragging rights.

The Hilltoppers again picked up the first point to start the fourth set. After setter Nadia Gerbasi served the ball into the net, junior Annabel Frieden returned the favor, evening things up at one.

Chardon extended its lead to four, forcing Mayfield to call a timeout at 8-4.

Slowly, but surely the Wildcats would not go away quietly. Cutting the lead to four, trailing 18-22, Glodkowski called her second timeout of the set. McCartney tallied another kill, this time a roll shot that kept the Mayfield defense stuck in their shoes.

An unfortunate miscommunication error by the Wildcats tied things up at two sets apiece.

The Hilltoppers took set four, 25-19, forcing a decisive fifth set.

Coach Fisher and company would be the first team to five, and then to 10, before the Wildcats were forced to call a timeout at 11-7. Out of the timeout, Davis recorded a service error, giving the ball back to the feisty Wildcats.

Back-to-back tip kills from middle blocker Natalie Zemba extended the Hilltoppers’ lead to 13-8. Then McCartney added another kill to her stat line, bringing senior defensive specialist Emma White in to serve at match point.

White would jog back to the service line and take a deep breath before tossing the ball. A serve that soared just above the net would be out of the reach of the Wildcats’ serve receive, giving White an ace to end the set, and match.

Chardon took set five 15-10, and the match 3-2.

McCartney led the way offensively, recording 17 kills on the night, picking three aces, three total blocks and 13 digs. The Zemba sisters contributed with 14 kills, while Burlison and Paterson added seven and six kills, respectively. Setter Annabel Frieden dished out a team-high 32 assists, as well as 10 digs to pace the Hilltopper offense, while Suszynski added seven assists.

Defensively, Kaleigh Davis led the back row, with 21 digs and two added aces. Natalie Zemba was active at the net, recording three blocks on the evening.

Chardon would next travel to Kenston to face the Bombers Oct. 12. With a win, the Hilltoppers could share the WRC. With a loss, the Bombers win the conference outright.