By Greg Gulas
The newest volleyball member of the All-American Conference Red Tier served notice on Tuesday against an arch-rival.
Krista Johnson contributed nine points and nine kills as Boardman defeated Austintown Fitch by scores of 25-17, 25-15 and 25-18.
Hope Landers registered nine kills and 12 digs while Katie Platt added 32 assists for the Spartans (5-2, 5-2).
“Krista [Johnson] is our go-to player, someone who wants the ball at crunch time while Hope [Landers] is one of the most explosive players in the area,” Boardman coach Andy Wade said. “She’s a smart player and an excellent leader.”
In the opening game, Fitch (1-3, 1-3) led 5-2 but three points by Cailin Downie knotted the score at 6-6.
Two points by Amanda Lipke staked the Spartans to a lead they would keep.
“It’s a rivalry game for both teams so the motivation is already there,” Johnson said. “We started to side out really quick in the first game so we wanted to keep that momentum.
“Give Fitch credit because they battled all night,” Johnson said. “It’s a nice start to our season so far.
“There is always room for improvement, however.”
In the second game, four points by Landers helped Boardman forge an 8-3 lead.
Four more points by Lipke extended the margin to 13-4.
“We were able to gather some momentum early, but keeping that momentum was the key,” Landers said. “Winning the first game and then going up 2-0 was big.”
Marisa Marks gave the Falcons a 15-13 advantage, but Platt knotted the game at 16-16, then added two more points for an advantage they would hold on to the rest of the game. Amber McMillan scored the final two points.
“Winning that first game today was big for us,” Wade said. “When we get a team down, we want to raise our level of play and we were able to do just that tonight.
Leading the Falcons was Sarah Obradovich with nine kills; Katarina Lewis who registered 10 points; Alyssa Spear who added four blocks; and Alex Connors who had 31 digs. The Falcons were without the services of head coach Steve Mohr, who was home nursing an upper respiratory infection. Assistant coach Candy Kekic filled in.
“When our front row was strong our back row missed passes,” Kekic said. “When we got that fixed, they lulled us on tips.
“Every player that I asked to come up big for us did so and that was encouraging,” Kekic said. “One thing we didn’t do enough of was talk, so we need to improve upon that area of our game.”