Independence defeated host Chagrin Falls, 3-1, on Thursday to clinch a share of the Chagrin Valley Conference Chagrin Division title.
The Blue Devils, who improved to 14-4 overall and 12-0 in league play, won two straight Metro Division titles before moving up to the Chagrin Division this season. They can win the title outright with one more league win or a Perry loss.
“That’s obviously the first goal of the season, to win out in the conference,” said Independence coach Megan Osysko about winning a third straight title. “I even had a conversation with the girls earlier in the week. I asked them if the conference was good enough for them and they all said no. There are bigger things we want to accomplish. That’s just one of the goals we have for ourselves.”
Independence cruised to a 25-15 win in the first set then lost the second, 25-27. The Blue Devils rebounded to win the next two, 25-11 and 25-18 to close out the match.
“After losing the second set we made sure to refocus and play point to point,” Osysko said. “Obviously, Chagrin Falls was out to beat us and we have a target on our back in the CVC. We came back refocused and regrouped and won the next two games.”
The Blue Devils have now won 36 of 38 sets played in league competition.
“It's a huge accomplishment to win three CVC titles in a row,” said sophomore Maura Collins. “Of course, a conference championship isn't enough for us. We want to take this team farther than that. Even though we won the CVC title, it's extremely important to all of us to win the last two league games. We're hoping to get some momentum from those last two games to go into districts in a couple weeks. I know we all really want to go to states this year. It's always been a goal for our team.”
Collins led the team with 21 kills and also contributed 13 digs, five assists and two service aces.
Senior Hallie Zumack, who recorded a team-high 30 assists and tied for the team lead with three blocks, also has her sights set on the post-season.
“Every year we strive to be better and better and for me, it being my last year, I won't be satisfied unless we do make it to states,” she said. “That being said, we do have a lot of younger kids, so hopefully they really step it up for playoffs and act like they are upperclassmen. We of course want to finish strong and be undefeated in our conference and I definitely think we can achieve that goal, but our No. 1 goal is to go down to states.”
Senior Mallory Trombetta pitched in with 17 digs, two assists and an ace.
“It's been an incredible ride and I know with our hard work and determination we can make it farther than we ever have before,” Trombetta said. “It makes it so much more special to experience this with my best friends that I've been playing next to since CYO in third grade.”
Freshman Katie May recorded seven kills and two aces, freshman Lexi Prokopious had five kills, two aces, three blocks and five digs and senior Ashley Thompson contributed with three aces, 21 digs and an assist.
Independence, ranked 14th in the latest Division III state coaches’ poll, travels to No. 2 Huron on Saturday.