Lady Flashes Can't Break Slump, Bellevue

By Dan Woodlock
Times-Junction Sports Editor

Hoping to stem the tide after a Saturday upset bid slipped through their grasp, the Lady Flashes volleyball team was instead flooded with a night of miscues, missed opportunities and a Bellevue squad that took full advantage of nearly every mistake.

The Lady Red capitalized on Willard's rocky serving match and defensive struggles that were illuminated in a one-sided second set, en route to a 3-0 sweep on the opening night of Northern Ohio League play at the Willard High School gymnasium.

Bellevue registered the win by scores of 25-23, 25-6 and 25-21.

Looking to stop the bleeding, after a 2-0 lead over Galion fizzled into a 25-16, 25-19, 7-25, 11-25, 9-15 loss at home on Saturday, Willard (0-6, 0-1) still saw plenty of red, as Bellevue rarely trailed and withstood late pushes by the Lady Flashes in both the first and third sets.

Shalee Weider was an all-around threat for the Lady Red, as she tallied seven kills, eight digs and a match-high six blocks, out of the 10 produced by Bellevue. She was also a force in the serving game, converting 19-of-21 attempts, with 16 points and five aces.

Brianna Stockmaster finished off 11 of Bellevue's 24 kills. She also tacked on a perfect 12-for-12 mark in serves, with eight points.

Willard was paced by Emily Stephens, who finished the match with team-highs in kills (seven), blocks (two) and assists (tied with Kathleen Schaaf at nine), while tacking on 10 digs.

The Lady Flashes opened the match by misfiring on 33 percent of their service attempts, converting just 16-of-24 in the first set.

Collectively, Willard finished the night at just under a 76 percent serving rate (41-of-54), despite posting eight aces--led by four from Madie Secor.

The 13 misses loomed extra large, considering the Lady Red also misfired on four serves in the first set and seven, overall. Yet they still finished a plus-six in that department and a plus-three in the area it was most costly. Set scores.

Trailing, 19-13, in the opening set, a kill by Stephens, just Willard's second of the match to that point, sparked an 8-3 turnaround that pulled WHS within one, at 22-21.

But Bellevue buckled down from there and, ironically enough, received the set-clinching point on Willard's eighth serving error of the set.

The Lady Red stormed out to a 9-3 advantage in Set Two and proceeded to break things wide open from there.

Weider ran off a stretch of 10 consecutive points on serve, piling up four aces in that span, to build a convincing 16-3 lead. The Lady Red didn't slow down from there, tallying nine of the final 12 points of the match. Stockmaster also reeled off seven points on serve in the set, including three aces.

A team meeting outside of the gym prior to the third set appeared to initially spark the Lady Flashes, as they came out and fought to a 4-4 tie, banging out three kills in the run, after registering none in the entire second set. Willard held within two (12-10), only to see Bellevue, backed by four kills in the set by Weider, score six of eight to open an 18-12 lead.

Kyleigh Cok used a four-point service run, in which she also added a pair of digs, a kill and an ace, to narrow the deficit to one (19-18).

Limited to just seven kills over the first two sets, Willard broke out with 12 in the finale, led by five from Stephens.

Secor led all players with 14 digs. Alexis Moore finished as the top WHS server, going 8-for-8. Willard's only other perfect server was Aubrey Mathias, who came off the bench in the second set and converted a pair of serves, netting one point the Lady Flashes' way.

Cassidy Fultz posted a team-high 11 digs for Bellevue, with Morgan Hicks dishing out 18 assists.

Payton Vogel came up with three blocks off the bench for BHS.

In junior varsity action, Willard split their two recent matches with Galion and Bellevue. The Lady Flashes (2-4, 0-1) swept their way past Galion, 25-20, 25-16 on Saturday, but fell short in Tuesday's NOL match-up against Bellevue. The Lady Red shook free at the end of the first set, 25-21 and then went on to seal the deal, 25-17.

Galion 3, Willard 2

An eye-opening 2-0 set lead on visiting Galion slipped away, as the Lady Flashes watched the Lady Tigers fight all the way back and erase a 25-16, 25-19 deficit with convincing set wins of 25-7, 25-11 and 15-9 to take the match.

Emily Stephens connected on 10 kills and added two blocks, while Madie Secor contributed 17 digs. Alexis Moore and Lydia Wiers each added a pair of service aces in the loss. Kathleen Schaaf tallied 13 assists.

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