by Michael Leonard | Sports Editor
Stow -- For two sets, the Stow-Munroe Falls-Hudson volleyball match Sept. 17 was everything one would expect between the two rivals.
There was plenty of hitting, lots of wild scrambles and high energy from both teams. In the third and fourth sets, however, one team kept hitting, while one team's offense stalled.
The scores reflect who it was.
The Lady Explorers earned a 25-22, 20-25, 25-13, 25-10 win over the Lady Bulldogs as Hudson dominated the final two sets Sept. 18 at James G. Tyree Gymnasium.
The Lady Explorers, who also earned a 25-10, 25-16, 25-19 victory over Lake Division rival Twinsburg Sept. 19 at home, improved to 11-4 overall and 4-1 in the Northeast Ohio Conference Lake Division, while Stow fell to 3-7 overall and 3-1 in the Lake Division.
Hudson head coach Jessica Ciborek was very happy with her team's effort.
"We needed to go out and prove that we were the better team and we did," Ciborek said. "I was proud of how, when we were up, we didn't allow them to get back in."
The front-court players dominated the game as middle hitter Jordan Mackay and Krissy Mummey were the centers of attention.
Mackay led the Lady Explorers with 13 kills and four block points, while Mummey added 11 kills and seven block points. Outside hitter Celia Cristofoli added 11 kills and 23 digs, while libero Sarah Young also had 23 digs.
Hudson setter Alyssa Disandis had 46 assists on the night.
Meanwhile, Stow head coach Miguel Ramirez said his team seemed to fall off a little in the later sets.
"They just played a little bit better than we did," Ramirez said. "Our offense kind of stalled in the third set and we couldn't put the ball down in bounds. When you don't put a team like that on their heels, they're going to take advantage."
The Lady Bulldogs were led by 11 kills from Sydney "Squid" Trathen. Setter Melissa Conrad was credited with 20 assists.
Set one proved to be a dogfight as both teams came out swinging. The set was tied at nine different points, before the Lady Explorers were able to open a slight gap, thanks to Mummey's serve.
Stow called time-out when Hudson took a 20-16 lead, but was not able to close the gap.
The first set ended when the Lady Bulldogs put a pass into the net, giving the Lady Explorers the 1-0 lead.
Stow came out firing in the second set and never let Hudson get the lead, although the set was tied on numerous occasions early.
The Lady Bulldogs were able to open a gap, thanks to the hitting of Maddie Baer, and forced the Lady Explorers to call time-out, trailing 18-14.
Both teams were guilty of numerous serving errors late in the set, but Stow maintained its lead. The end came when Hudson was called for a net violation, giving Stow the second set and making it 1-1.
Set three looked to be more of the same early as the set was tied at 7-7.
It was at that point, however, that Mackay started to assert herself.
On Young's serve, Mackay scored four block points and three kills in the third set alone, allowing the Lady Explorers to score 11 of the next 12 points.
The Lady Bulldogs called time-out at 18-8 but never recovered. The set ended when Disandis hit a nice tip kill over the top to make it 2-1.
The fourth set saw Hudson take control from the outset, establishing leads of 4-1 and 8-3 before Stow called time-out.
Mummey, Mackay, Cristofoli and Olivia Baumhoer all had multiple kills in the final set.
The Lady Bulldogs' offense could not fend off the Hudson attack.
Match point went to the Lady Explorers when Stow's Kelsey Steiger put her serve into the net.
"We just have to go back to work," Ramirez said. "Our conference has gotten a lot tougher over the last few years."
Against Twinsburg, Mummey finished with eight kills, three blocks and 13 service points.
Mackay added nine kills and Disandis had 26 assists. Young and Gina Holland finished with 14 digs.
Hudson was scheduled to host Lake Division rival Twinsburg Sept. 19 before heading to Wadsworth Sept. 21 Results of those matches were not available at press time.
The Lady Explorers are scheduled to visit Rocky River Magnificat Sept. 23 before returning home to play Lake Division foe Mayfield Sept. 26. Both varsity matches are set to begin at 6:30 p.m.