seven kills by junior Angela McNulty, the Lady Green Wave swept
Portsmouth Clay 25-15, 25-14 and 25-13 in a Division IV regional
semifinal game held at Lancaster High School.
LANCASTER – Comfort with intensity spelled out the ingredients for Newark Catholic Thursday evening.
Behind 13 kills from senior Jordan Stacey and eight blocks and seven kills by junior Angela McNulty, the Lady Green Wave swept Portsmouth Clay 25-15, 25-14 and 25-13 in a Division IV regional semifinal game held at Lancaster High School.
“We were pretty comfortable during the early portions of each game, but at the same time we knew we couldn’t sit back against them and we had to put some runs together,” Stacey said. “Everybody kept their intensity and that was a big point for us.”
Newark Catholic (20-7), one of four schools from the ultra competitive Mid-State League Ohio Division playing at the regional level, advances to play Berlin Hiland (23-4) Saturday at noon for a trip to the state Final Four.
Clay (22-4) had a bright spot early, scoring the first three points of the contest. Newark Catholic then began its run on the ace buffet line, totaling 13 for the evening. Maria Campolo put down three aces on an 8-0 Newark Catholic run to answer the Clay start. Kenzie Egan contributed three aces of her own later in the opening game to get the Wave rolling to a 19-11 lead and an early advantage in the match.
Newark Catholic and Clay battled evenly in the early portions of the second game.
The Clay attack was led by 6 foot middle hitter Cami Groves blocking and attacking the Lady Green Wave.
But like in the first game, Newark Catholic was able to pull away, closing the second game on a 10-3 run to go ahead two games.
“We struggled and lost focus for a couple runs, but otherwise we were able to run our game plan and that makes all the difference in volleyball,” Newark Catholic coach Jori Helfer said. “If you have ball control, you will win a lot of games.”
The third game followed the script of the previous two. After both schools battled close through the first half of the contest, Newark Catholic was able to neutralize Clay and Groves with a 13-4 run to seal a trip to the regional title game.
Katie Hill served the last six points, including a pair of aces, and Stacey provided four kills during the run.
“We talk all the time about trying to putting runs of five points together and we were able to do that several times,” Helfer said. “That makes a difference.”
Helfer also credited Newark Catholic’s blocking, led by McNulty, for being able to hold Groves and the rest of the Clay team under control for the most part.
“When you can put a couple blocks up on such big and good athletes, you’re going to make them hit around you,” Helfer said. “Our blocking did well stopping them and making them go where we wanted them to.”