The Facons got good performances from Maggie Case, Katie McDermott and Ashlee Lemke.
By JOHN BUTERA
AUSTINTOWN -- Using an inspired defensive effort and a fine overall floor game from sophomore Maggie Case, the Austintown Fitch High volleyball team turned back Salem 15-3, 15-5 on Thursday.
Case had seven points, with two aces and six kills, to lead the Falcons. Katie McDermott added seven points, six kills and seven blocks.
Senior Ashlee Lemke collected eight points, four kills, three aces and four digs.
"We certainly played well," Fitch coach Tom Case said. "I won't deny that. That first game was probably the best run we've had all season."
Strong start: On its first possession, Fitch jumped out to a 5-0 lead as Lemke was doing an outstanding job serving three straight balls that couldn't be returned.
Salem cut the margin to 5-3, but good play at the net by Case helped the Falcons push ahead 8-3. Case then asserted herself, coming up with an outstanding play to help her team go back on offense.
With Case in the serving position, Fitch came up with seven straight points to win 15-3. McDermott had two outstanding plays during the uprising.
"We didn't have any attack in that first game," Salem coach Don Conser said. "They just buried the ball."
Build lead: Starting off the second game in much the same fashion, the Falcons used untouched serves by Stacie Mang and Megan Casey to build an 8-1 lead. Lemke also contributed three nice plays during the surge.
By this point, Fitch was in the midst of an 18-1 run. The Falcons continued on to a 13-2 spread before coasting to the 15-5 win.
"After that first game, we were able to get into our offense," Case said. "That's when volleyball becomes fun."
At one point during the contest, Fitch ran off 13 unanswered points.
Gained momentum: "We had practiced hard all week, and once we got that first win we had the momentum," Maggie Case said.
Conser said, "We have a team that I am not sure which one will show up. Every Division I team we have faced has been a struggle.
"Fitch was very quick and they dug the ball very well," Conser added. "In game two, we finally got a block, we finally had an attack, but we didn't have an attack in the first game."