Balanced St. Paul too much for Monroeville

Mark Hazelwood • Aug 30, 2017 at 12:05 AM

MONROEVILLE — Early in Tuesday’s Firelands Conference match at Monroeville, hitter Tess Lepley appeared to put away a kill for St. Paul.

But the Eagles dug out the ball, only for it to be immediately set back to Lepley, who delivered a more thunderous kill that had no answer.

It was that kind of night for the Lady Flyers, who swept the host Eagles by scores of 25-15, 25-12, 25-13 at the Monroeville Athletic Complex.

St. Paul (2-0, 2-0 FC) had balance across the board in hitting, serving and digging.

“A team win like that just feels great, and that’s what I told the girls at the end of the match,” St. Paul coach Nancy Miller said. “You could just see they were feeding off each other.

“Their energy on the floor and on the bench — they really fed off each other,” she added. “It was so great to see that chemistry coming together with that group.”

St. Paul had not played in a week, but there wasn’t the slightest hint of any rust from the outset.

The Lady Flyers led 10-2 in Game 1, and never looked back in extending that lead to as much as 12 points in the 25-15 win.

In Game 2, Rachel Bleile set the tone with three consecutive aces as St. Paul jumped out to another 10-2 lead. With hitting coming from all over, the Lady Flyers led by as much as 20-7 before putting away the 25-12 win.

“We came out real strong tonight, we dug the ball very well with Lauren (Chandler), Kennedy (Stang) and Rachel doing an awesome job in the back row and reading those hitters well,” Miller said.

“I see the things we’ve been working on in practice transitioning to the matches, and I haven’t said that yet in August,” she added.

The Eagles showed some fight in the third game. Morganne Stanley and Kirsten Stieber were able to find a couple of holes in the St. Paul defense, and Monroeville trailed 14-12 and appeared ready to go the distance.

However, the Lady Flyers closed the door. St. Paul scored 11 of the final 12 points of the match to take home the 25-13 win and sweep. Meghan Hedrick and Megan Hammersmith did most of the damage at the net in the final run for St. Paul.

“Right now, they’ve set the bar very high,” Monroeville coach Kendra Snook said of St. Paul. “They’re a better team than us. We have veterans on the court as far as, they got some time last year, but also some young kids still learning their way.”

Kara Schafer was 77-of-78 setting for the Eagles (1-2, 1-1) and was 7 for 7 serving. Kirsten Stieber had five kills and 13 digs, while Stacia Stieber had 23 digs with Maddie Elmlinger adding 11 digs.

Kelsie Palmer added four kills and two blocks for Monroeville, and both Stanley and Kylee Brooks had four kills each.

Monroeville is at New London on Thursday.

“We’re not quite playing together as a team, but I don’t think we ever stopped playing tonight though,” Snook said. “We gave good effort and there were a lot of long volleys — they just won them. I’m not disappointed at all in how my kids play, we just have a lot of room to get better.”

For St. Paul, Bleile served 20 points with six aces, and had 36 assists to surpass the 2,000-mark for her career. She also had 17 digs.

Hedrick finished with 14 kills, while Kamryn Maxwell had 12 and Lepley finished with 11. Maxwell also served 12 points with two aces, and Hammersmith added eight kills. Chandler and Stang each finished with 17 digs.

St. Paul is at Crestview on Thursday, then makes the long trip to Sidney to play in the Lehman Catholic tournament on Saturday. The Lady Flyers open with Frankfurt Adena.

“It is a big rest of the week and we look forward to it, because it’s a great measuring stick for us,” Miller said. “Crestview is young, but very big. I think Thursday will be a big test for our front row, and when we go to Lehman, that’s just always a tough tournament.”

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