Union Local spikes Huskies

MORRISTOWN – Trailing 7-1 during the third game of Monday night’s Buckeye 8 high school volleyball tilt against Harrison Central, Union Local head coach Bridget Brooks called time to calm her troops.

Her words were heeded.

The Jets rallied to knot the game at 12-12, then went on to take the game and the match – 25-20, 25-15, 25-20 – before a large crowd inside the Hangar.

”I told them they just needed to play their game a little bit better,” said Brooks, Union Local’s first-year head coach.

”They kind of seemed down and slow. I don’t know if it was the stall between the second and third game or what.”

Whatever it was, Union Local’s lull at the start of the final game was just a hiccup on what was a mostly dominating night for the home team.

The victory was the first of the season for the Jets, playing only their second match of the season, and first since a loss to unbeaten Barnesville last Tuesday.

Brooks said the rust started to fall off her team early against the now winless Huskies (0-4).

”I’m very happy with how we played,” she said. ”They’re playing as a team. They moved and hustled a lot … dove after loose balls. They were ready for tips and downed balls.”

Harrison Central tied the opening match at 15-15 before five straight Union Local points propelled the Jets to victory.

In Game 2, Union Local never trailed and used an eight-point burst midway through as a springboard to the triumph.

It looked as though Harrison Central was hitting its stride in Game 3. The Huskies started strong, but withered as the game went on.

Head Coach Sarah Hawthorne said her team lost steam after the Jets rallied following Brooks’ time out.

”We just stopped talking and stopped staying aggressive and it killed us in the end.” she said. ”We always have coming back (from other team’s runs). The other team has three, four, five serves in a row and we get down on ourselves. We have to try to find a way to keep staying positive.”

Positive is the mindset Brooks said her team is in now heading into today’s home match against Bridgeport.

”I have a very nice team,” she said. ”They’re a seasoned team. I expect great things from them. I just hope they keep challenging themselves.”

Katie Bashline had 11 points, seven assists and five aces for Union Local. Kaitlynn Clark -Patterson added eight points, three blocks and six kills; and Mikayla Patton had four kills and seven points.

Both teams came together to raise funds for the Judy Vincenzo Foundation, a nonprofit organization that donates to area families with a family member battling cancer. Brooks said Vincenzo, who died from the disease in 2012, worked at Harrison Community Hospital and was a Union Local High School graduate. Both squads wore shirts that said ”Volley for the Judy Vincenzo Foundation.”

Also during the evening, numerous fundraisers took place, including a 50-50 drawing and raffles. Prizes were presented during the intermission between the second and third games of the varsity match.