Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Blue Devils roll to seventh straight sectional title

Independence’s volleyball team opened the postseason with a 3-0 sweep of Wellington on Thursday at Elyria High School.

The 25-11, 25-6, 25-7 win gave the Blue Devils their seventh straight sectional championship.

“We are excited to get the postseason started after patiently waiting for nine days after completing our last regular season match,” said Independence head coach Megan Osysko. “The girls did not let that bother them, and they came out playing with focus and energy. We look forward to our next opportunity to play on Wednesday.”

Independence, ranked No. 4 in the final Ohio Volleyball Coaches’ Association Division III poll and the top seed in the Elyria District, advanced to the district semifinals where the Blue Devils will play No. 4 Lutheran West, who advanced with a 3-0 win over Wickliffe.

The Longhorns knocked the Blue Devils out of the playoffs last season with a 3-2 win in the district semis.

“The girls have worked hard to become stronger and mature as a team over the past year,” Osysko said. “The team is happy to have another shot at playing Lutheran West in the semis.”

Senior Maura Collins opened her final postseason with 11 kills and 10 digs.

“Surprisingly, I don’t feel it putting much pressure on me,” Collins said of winding down her high school career. “I thought I would be more sentimental about all of it, but it doesn’t even cross my mind when I’m on the court. I just give it everything I have like I do every game.”

Junior Katie May led the Blue Devils with eight service aces and 25 assists. Junior Sarah Piteo pitched in with four aces and Collins, Lexi Prokopius and Maddy Bilinovic each had two of Independence’s 19 service aces.

“Serving aggressively was a big factor tonight,” Collins said. “Almost every server recorded an ace.”

Independence also recorded 34 kills in the match with Grace Smotek and Katie Taliaferro putting down eight and six, respectively.

“Hitters all across the board were terminating,” Collins said. “I thought our offense was nicely spread out tonight, not just one hitter was relied on.”

Independence improved to 22-1 on the year.

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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