Thursday, October 6, 2022

Independence clinches sixth straight Chagrin Division title

With a 3-0 win over Orange on Tuesday, Independence clinched its sixth straight Chagrin Valley Conference Chagrin Division championship.

“It shows what kind of program we have here at Independence and also that we have improved every season,” said senior Lexi Prokopius. “I know that this title will continue with all the young talent we have and that will be coming to the high school within the next couple of years.”

The Blue Devils won the match 25-11, 25-4, 25-14.

“I think that our aggressive serving and limited errors is what helped us dominate tonight,” Prokopius said. “We know that in order to get the team out of system we have to serve aggressively and when mistakes are made we have to shake it off and get the next one.”

Collecting the league title was the first of some lofty goals for the Blue Devils, who reached the Division III state Final Four last fall.

“Winning the league title is just another step in the right direction as we continue our progression this season,” said senior Katie May. “Being a senior and winning four straight titles feels amazing. Each season the coaches prepared and positioned us for success. This year we came in focused on clinching that league title and then moving into the postseason ready to compete.”

Independence improved to 17-3 overall and 13-0 in league play. The Blue Devils close out the regular season with a match at Walsh Jesuit on Wednesday and a home game against Chagrin Falls on Thursday.

The Blue Devils earned the No. 1 seed in the Elyria District and begin postseason play on Oct. 18.

“Getting ready for the postseason we are practicing a lot harder but that doesn’t stop us from having fun and laughing with each other,” Prokopius said. “We have a big goal in front of us but we know that to succeed we still need to have good chemistry and have fun.”

Despite their dominance in winning 39 straight sets in league play, the Blue Devils won’t take any opponent lightly.

“The entire team is focused on our games ahead,” May said. “During the postseason, we have to take each match one at a time. We have some unfinished business we are eager to take care of. Our goals are set high and I believe with the talent and the determination this team has we could make a great run this postseason.”

Morgan Chernikoff led Orange with six digs and Carly Stark pitched in with five. The Lions recorded seven blocks as a team.

“Our team had some big blocks tonight,” said Orange coach Jen Gold. “Our defense also had a good game. We were happy to take advantage of the competitive offense that Independence has and we will use those defensive skills we developed tonight to take to our game against Hawken on Thursday.”

Editor’s note: This story was updated to accurately reflect the number of CVC titles Independence has won, which is six.

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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