RIVER GROVE — The Ridgewood Rebels volleyball team hung on for a close victory Thursday against Guerin’s Gators, who didn’t want to give up without a fight.
Rebels seniors Natasa Papulic, an outside hitter, and Marzena Mistarz, a libero, said their team’s 25-14, 25-21 victory boiled down to positive communication and a new play, 31, that they were able to use about five times during the match. The play is a quicker, lower set to an outside hitter that is typically more difficult for blockers to defend.
“Just staying positive was the main thing,” Papulic said. “We played with them before and won, but you can never expect to just win.”
The Rebels (12-18) beat the Gators earlier this season by a similar margin, 25-22, 25-15. Ridgewood is coming off back-to-back 5-26 seasons.
“I think we really proved how solid we can be,” Mistarz said. “Even the coaches were saying we were a new team. I think we’ve done everything that we’ve been practicing and been on point.”
Rebels coach David Wlodarczyk said they did especially well with serving, digs and passes.
On the other bench, Gators coach Paul Bartnicki said the Gators’ serve receive was poor. He said he had told the girls it was an odd game because there were several let serves by Ridgewood.
“But when the serves were coming over, we weren’t able to pass, and then that slowed our offense down,” he said. “I expected us to play better this match because we’d had some bad practices before the last game but we’ve had some good [more focused] practices going into tonight. We just couldn’t get in sync tonight for some reason, probably because of serve receive.”
The Gators (12-14) kept at it though and managed to pull off some strong rallies, hits and serves through the match. Amy Lorenz led Guerin with three kills, four aces and four digs. Christina Green registered two kills and three, while Abby Porretta had nine digs.
Senior outside hitter Taylor Stevens said the Gators’ hitting was consistent and smart, keeping the rallies going, while senior outside hitter and middle hitter Amy Lorenz said their serving was “pretty decent” and that they had strong rallies.
“We could learn how to work off of each other better,” libero Abbey Porretta said. “Working as one unit instead of several units could give us an extra edge in the game and give us more harmony.”