The St. Paul volleyball team — a longtime powerhouse in both the Firelands Conference and Division IV — had no trouble sweeping past visiting New London, 25-10, 25-7, 25-12 at the convocation center.
But New London coach Jill Mitchell had a different approach for her young Wildcat team Thursday.
“Any time we come here, and some might view it as the wrong approach, but our goal is to have fun and try to get double digits,” Mitchell said. “We set little goals to have, because in this situation we know what the outcome is going to be over here. We’re realistic about it.
“Our programs are at two different places right now, very much so,” she added. “On that note, I’m so proud of my girls. They got double-digits in two sets and I’ve never seen us hustle that much. It was awesome to see, and I was very excited and proud.”
Meanwhile, Nancy Miller was watching intently to see how her team responded to playing for the first time since Saturday’s dominant performance at the Lehman Catholic Invitational.
“They really didn’t have any drop off — and I know I nag at them about it and the mentality they need to have when they step on the floor,” Miller said of her team. “It’s something we talk about every day. Just trying to get in their heads with a positive attitude about, ‘It doesn’t matter who we play, it’s about us controlling the momentum.’”
Miller singled out the play of sophomore hitter Holly Powers at the net and defensive specialist Claire Spettel.
“Holly stepped up and was aggressive,” Miller said. “We’ve been really working on her swinging and just being aggressive. We’re really working hard on her being that small ball hitter with her cuts and her angles.
“Defensively, I thought again we played a good match,” she added. “Claire stepped up and had some big digs tonight.”
For St. Paul (7-0, 4-0 FC), Tess Lepley was 20-of-20 hitting with 16 kills and five blocks. Kamryn Maxwell had 10 kills, while Powers had eight kills. Meghan Hedrick served 13 points and Kennedy Stang added 10 points.
Also for the Lady Flyers, Rachel Bleile had 38 assists, while Spettel and Lauren Chandler each added 13 digs.
“Our daily goal every time we step on the floor is we have to get better,” Miller said. “There is something we have to do where we’re trying to get better. I saw the kids being aggressive.”
For New London (1-5, 0-4), Maryonna Cathey had 11 digs, while Gabby Ledbetter had six kills on 11-of-12 hitting. Lili Bartow added four assists and Brooklyn Hudson had six digs.
“Maryonna played unbelievable, and played all the way around in all three games,” Mitchell said. “We did three different lineups each game, just doing different things and giving girls chances and seeing how it went. But she played all the way around all three sets — and she played great.”
Mitchell’s goal is to get her team to play every match like they did Thursday.
“If we played like that each time out, I don’t think we’d be 1-5 right now — and we’re going to win a lot more matches going forward,” she said.
In the junior varsity match, the Lady Flyrs won, 25-8, 25-15. Anna Lukasko had five kills, while Libby Dvorak had 10 digs and Stevi Ward added 10 assists.
New London has a non-conference match at St. Mary Central Catholic on Monday, while St. Paul visits Western Reserve in an FC match on Tuesday.