Thursday, September 23, 2021

Independence records fourth straight sweep in win at Perry

Independence swept host Perry on Tuesday, 3-0, to improve to 4-0 on the year.

The Blue Devils have swept each of their first four opponents.

“Tonight, we were focused on speeding up the tempo on our side of the net as much as possible,” said Independence standout Maddy Bilinovic. “Being comfortable to speed up our game is going to be very useful going farther into this season. We still continue to work on communicating with each other on every single play as well. When we have energy and all do our jobs, everything else just falls into place.”

Independence won the match 25-13, 25-7, 25-17.

Despite losing just one senior from the team that advanced to the Division III state Final Four last fall, Independence is relatively young and the Blue Devils are transitioning into a new offense under first-year head coach Tony Messina.

“Just like last year, our team is very focused,” Bilinovic said. “We know what we want and what we have to do to go and achieve our goal. Even though we only lost one player last year, I think this is a brand new team. Running a 6-2 this year is opening up so many opportunities for us to run a bigger offense. We have three freshmen playing with us this year who are adapting very well, and in my opinion, don’t even look like freshmen when they step on that court. We all still have a lot of hard work to put in to get where we want to go, but I have no doubt that this team is up for the challenge.”

Alyssa Edmiston led Perry with eight kills and also recorded six digs and a pair of aces. Maddie Tharp posted a team-high seven digs and eight assists with three kills and three blocks. Jaelyn Tomoletz added three kills, two blocks and four assists for the Pirates, who dropped to 1-3.

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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