Huron League volleyball continued on Monday as Riverview made the short drive over to the island to battle Grosse Ile. It was the first of two scheduled meetings between the two longtime conference rivals.
The host Red Devils went on to sweep the Pirates 3-0 (25-13, 28-26, 25-19) in their first head-to-head matchup of 2020.
It was smooth sailing for Grosse Ile in the opening set as they went on a 10-2 spurt after holding a 10-7 lead at one point. Devils coach Amanda Sammons after the match talked about getting off to that strong start.
“I really liked how they communicated as a group and moved around on the court,” Sammons said. “It did seem like though the movement got a bit more sluggish (throughout the match) and we got too comfortable. That is something we can’t afford to do much of in these league games.”
To Sammons’ point, Riverview controlled much of the second set, leading Grosse Ile 20-17 at one point, before the hosts rattled off eight of the next 12 points to force a win-by-two scenario and eventually take the set.
The Bucs also raced out to a 10-3 cushion in the third set. But again Grosse Ile went on another big run, winning 12 of the next 14 points, and never looked back.
“I think today I was most impressed with their ability to battle back,” Sammons said. “That is something we’ve struggled with in the past. To see their backs against the wall and really push back, taking ownership of the game, I was very proud of them for doing that.”
Riverview coach Alyssa LaFace knows there were opportunities to be had for her team and after the match, she expressed a desire for a bit more consistency.
“It seemed like our energy level was just up and down throughout,” LaFace said. “I thought our servicing was pretty stellar and we did a great job passing. We still need to work on setting up and just our hitting chemistry in general. But overall I think we’re getting better.”
LaFace is in her first year at the helm with the Bucs. The former Allen Park standout, who went on to play at Eastern Michigan, is joined on the coaching staff by her sister Shayna, also an Allen Park grad, and father Dave.
LaFace has been trying to keep her team very loose and trying to have fun, no matter the situation in a match. Similar to how she describes her team’s performance on Monday, LaFace says the acclimation process with her team has been “up and down” early on.
“With what our current situation is surrounding Covid, it’s been difficult at times getting to know these girls more on a personal level and trying to build this program how I want to,” LaFace said. “But the girls we have, especially our younger players with big roles already, trust in their own abilities as well as I mine to coach.
“I think that’s only going to get better moving forward.”
Meg Balogh and Skye Livingston delivered 13 of Grosse Ile’s 23 registered kills; Balogh led the way with seven. Ava Bonham and Luaren Clum each had three kills. Annie James, who set up 22 of those 23 kill shots for the Red Devils, had two of the team’s four aces; Balogh and Schmer each had one.
Riverview’s Kristina Dama led all players on the floor with eight kills. Dama was one of eight different Pirates to record at least one kill. Jordan Gadwell finished right behind her with seven. Freshman Paige Reckling had three of the team’s six aces. Fellow freshman Jackie Scheiber had two while Dama had one.
Both teams were scheduled to return to action on Wednesday, Sept 23. Riverview was set to host Monroe Jefferson and Grosse Ile was scheduled for a trip to Carleton Airport.
The second meeting between the Bucs and the Devils is set for Oct. 19 at Riverview.