Sunday, May 19, 2024

Kirtland survives scare at Beachwood

Kirtland’s and Beachwood’s volleyball teams found out on Thursday they have more in common than new head coaches. They found out they both have the ability to battle back from game-ending situations to play another point.

Maddie Crawford blocks a Beachwood volley for a point

In the end, it was the Hornets that pulled out the 16-14 win in the fifth set to take the match, 3-2.

“It was an incredibly exciting match,” said Kirtland coach Bob Schenosky. “I take my hat off to Beachwood. They’re an incredibly scrappy team. They have some great hitters and they’re incredibly well coached. I think our girls came back in the last two games and they didn’t let anything hit the floor. Every girl participated in the effort. As a coach, you can’t ask for anything more than that.”

Beachwood (1-1) won the first set, 25-22, and then dropped the next two before tying the match at 2-2 with a 25-15 win in the fourth set.

The Bison were one point from winning it all before the Hornets scored the final four points in the decisive set.

“There are a lot of things we can be proud of,” said Beachwood coach Sarah Schoenhagen. “I don’t think they’re used to Beachwood really fighting back like that, coming back after a 14-25 loss, so we saw a lot of good things. I think if they had that energy that they finished with that second game it might have been different.”

Kirtland’s Maddie Crawford and Beachwood’s Valisha Watkins took turns dominating the fifth set.

Crawford opened the decisive set with a block to give the Hornets the 1-0 lead but Watkins responded with one of her seven kills to tie it. Another Crawford block made it 2-1 but again Watkins came through with a kill, her second of three in the set, to tie it.

A Crawford kill and a Beachwood error put the Hornets on top, 4-2, and Watkins’ third kill of the set put the Bison on top, 8-7.

The teams traded points until Jada Stevens and Tamarea Townes recorded back-to-back kills to give the Bison a match and game point at 14-12.

That’s when Schenosky called timeout to refocus his players.

“I just told them it’s up to you right now; continue to give the effort and don’t give up,” he said. “We can come back from this if nothing hits the ground except a body with the ball and we work as hard as we know we can do.”

A Crawford kill pulled the Hornets to within one and another Beachwood error tied it. Kirtland took a 15-14 lead on Crawford’s ace and the Hornets won the next volley to end the game.

“This is great for us,” Schenosky said. “The front half of our schedule is loaded with bigger schools and we’ve come out of the first two weeks 2-2 and we’re very excited about that as we approach the CVC schedule. I think this really helps build our confidence getting into the conference.”

On the other sideline, the Bison weren’t as happy but they have every reason to be enthusiastic heading into the rest of their season.

“They’ve got to pick their heads up,” Schoenhagen said. “They’re emotional and that’s good because that means that they put everything out there and that’s what every single game should feel like. We came back and then a couple of errors got us back down. It’s making sure we stay mentally strong down the stretch like that to minimize our errors.”

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Steve Hare
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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