The Saline varsity girls’ volleyball team upped their season record to 24-9 with a three-game sweep against the Monroe Trojans Tuesday evening at Saline High School. The victories were all convincing: 25-15, 25-12 and 25-15.
“I thought we played well tonight,” said Saline Head Volleyball Coach Emileen Palka. “We were able to play together as a team, we executed well and every girl understood their role and did not try to do too much.”
Palka was also very proud of the team’s defense.
“We are a very scrappy defensive team and (junior middle hitter) Emma Rigg had a very good game tonight,” Palka said.
Emotions tend to play a huge role in any high school sport and volleyball is no different. The Hornets play their games in the auxiliary gym, which is smaller than the main SHS gym. But the Hornets call that gym their home.
And it gets loud. Very loud. And students show up, filling the bleachers to the rafters. And there is a chemistry that connects the players on the court with their friends in the bleachers.
The Hornets had two scoring runs in the opening game, the first was a five-point run to extend their lead from a 3-2 deficit to a 7-3 lead. That run was sparked by the sharp serving of junior Emma Rigg. Junior Kendal Robison served up a seven-point run to increase the Hornet lead to 14-5. The game was put out of reach with junior Julia Blaney serving and the Hornets increasing their lead to 24-13.
In the second game, junior Hannah Blaney led the Hornets in a fiery display of defense, digging out multiple serves by the Trojans. Hornet setters juniors Abigail Zambeck and Josie Bero were able to consistently set up the lady Hornets’ outside spikers, senior Haley Turner and Rigg. Turner and Rigg drove the ball around and through the Trojan defenders all night. Turner and Rigg, were relentless in their spikes. Rigg served the final five points in the second game to clinch the 25-12 victory.
In game three, the Hornets were leading 6-5 when junior Julia Blaney served. She led a six-point run, including three service aces. She was followed by Rigg to serve who ran off another five point run to increase Saline’s lead to 17-10.
Senior Kaija Sydlowski had two smashing kills to end Trojan rallies, the last kill giving the Hornets a 22-15 lead. Hannah Blaney served up the final three points, aided by dramatic spikes from Rigg and Sydlowski, to carry the Hornets to their 25-15 win.
The lady Hornets will get back into action on Saturday when they will travel to Novi High School for the Novi Tournament. It will be an all-day event. Then on Tuesday, 10-15-19 the lady Hornets will travel to Ann Arbor Huron to take on the River Rats at 7 p.m.
THE SALINE POST THREE STARS:
1st Star: Emma Rigg
2nd Star: Hannah Blaney
3rd Star: Kendal Robison