Friday, December 9, 2022

Berkshire makes key adjustments in win over Brooklyn

BURTON—Brooklyn standout Jaden Walz presented a big problem for host Berkshire in Tuesday’s Chagrin Valley Conference crossover match.

Walz hammered home ball after ball and she scored nine straight service points in the first set to help the Hurricanes overcome a 19-15 deficit to win, 25-21. Berkshire adjusted its defense—and intensity—and went on to win the next three sets and the match, 25-20, 25-21, 25-21.

“She definitely is a great player, probably the best overall player we’ve seen all year,” Berkshire coach Joni Prots said of Walz, who will continue her education and playing career at Bowling Green State University. “It took us a little while to execute our game plan in terms of where to attack and what we needed to do defensive-wise.”

That game plan included finding a way to slow down Walz instead of trying to stop her.

“I told them at the beginning, we’re not going to shut her down,” Prots said. “She’s going to get her points, we just have to make sure we don’t score points for them and take care of anyone else who touches the ball. In game one, we scored a whole bunch of points for them, which has been our downfall a lot this year. That’s the thing we’re working on. They were a little better in games two and three and had a little stretch in game four. I keep telling them we’re getting there but now it’s time to get there.”

Mollee Chapman keyed Berkshire’s comeback.

She finished the night with 15 kills, 12 assists, four digs and seven service points but it was her own adjustments at the net that made the difference.

Three times she hit the ball right at Walz, who blocked each hit attempt. On the fourth, Chapman tipped the ball over Walz’s fingers for a Berkshire point.

Chapman’s adjustments helped the young Badgers to regroup.

“I think that’s part of the process that they’re going through,” Prots said. “Some of the younger ones are figuring out their roles and they’re figuring out how to play back. It doesn’t just have to be the three that have done this before. They’re starting to work as six instead of individually.”

Delaney Tucek added 14 kills, five digs, four aces and 10 service points and Kayla Dingman finished the night with 13 points, six aces, six digs and two kills.

“Mollee definitely played well,” Prots said. “She hustled her butt off. Laney I thought did well passing. She had her kills when we needed them. Those two played really well but it takes the team and it takes Angie (Romano) getting a couple of touches in the back when we needed them and keeping the ball in play. Everyone played well.”

Berkshire improved to 4-7 overall while Brooklyn dropped to 8-3. The Badgers travel to Valley Division rival Wickliffe on Thursday while the Hurricanes host Trinity in a clash of Metro Division teams.

Steve Hare
Steve Hare is the Chagrin Valley Conference's Sports Information Director. He also created and publishes, an online publication dedicated to providing hyperlocal coverage to area high school athletic programs. Hare began covering high school sports for the Lake County News Herald in 1997. Hare attended Willoughby South High School through the middle of his senior year, then graduated from Berkshire High School in Burton in 1986. He played football, wrestled and was an all-Geauga county baseball player (1986). He lives in Chardon with his wife Paulette and their children.

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