Kirtland got its season back on track by beating rival Berkshire on its home court on Tuesday, 3-1.
The Hornets, who improved to 4-5 and snapped a five-game losing skid, beat the Badgers 25-23, 25-21, 24-26, and 25-18.
“We needed that one really bad,” said Kirtland coach Ricky Sanders. “The girls just came out to play. I told them that going into a hostile environment, they’re going to have to play the best they have all season, and they did. They put it together.”
Not only did the Hornets enter the Berkshire match having lost five straight, they also had lost 16 straight sets, so winning the first two against the Badgers restored some of the lost confidence.
But Berkshire fought back and won the third set, forcing Sanders to rally his squad.
“I told them we’re going to have to reel it in because we should have won the third set,” Sanders said. “It was tied up 22-22 and we had a passing error and a hitting error, which kind of made us lose that set. They turned it up in the fourth set.”
The Hornets responded and closed out the win in their Chagrin Valley Conference Valley Division opener.
Nina Loncar led the Hornets with 13 kills and three service aces.
“Her attack was on tonight,” Sanders said. “Keeping them out of system, especially against Maddie (Smetana) was tremendous. We didn’t let her get on tonight and we just kept them out of system the whole way.”
Kristiana Katic contributed with eight kills, Katie Reynolds led the Hornets with 15 assists and five blocks, and Nina Alfieri and Bria Golem each recorded 16 digs to lead the team.
Smetana led the Badgers with 19 kills and 18 digs. Sammi Winter recorded 12 assists and 13 digs, and Marissa Rish finished with 19 assists, 10 digs, and seven kills.