Long weekend doesn’t slow down Boardman
By MIKE McLAIN
The eye test was impressive when analyzing the performance staged by the Boardman High School volleyball team in Tuesday’s straight-sets win over Fitch.
Spartans coach Danielle Siembida, however, might say that looks can be deceiving.
Siembida was pleased to head home with a 3-0 All-American Conference Red Division win, but she saw flaws in the play of the Spartans, who prevailed by scores of 25-21, 25-23 and 25-22.
It may have had something to do with the holiday weekend and the fact many of the players frequented the Canfield Fair. Add in a gymnasium at the Middle School that felt like a sauna, and it wasn’t the easiest night to bring the ‘A’ game.
“Actually we were a little off tonight,” Siembida said. “I don’t know if it’s coming off a long, holiday weekend and maybe too much fair food. I feel our three main hitters weren’t jumping as high or swinging as confidently as they usually do.”
The three aforementioned players — Kaylin Burkey, Haley Blangero and Ashley Clark — played well enough to improve Boardman’s records to 4-1, 2-1 AAC Red Tier. Burkey, a 5-foot-10 sophomore, was a force on the front row, registering 13 kills and three blocks.
Burkey’s play improved as the game progressed. Eight of her kills came in the third set, when the Spartans broke free from a 13-12 deficit to score seven unanswered points.
“I was a little rusty in the first set, but I think overall as a team we did very well together,” Burkey said. “We came together at the end to win.”
The Falcons (2-3, 1-2) are still trying to develop chemistry. Coach Jody Bartlett made a couple position changes that will require time to develop.
“I’m looking at where my kids are strongest at,” Bartlett said. “I think tonight we were lacking at just talking and moving after the ball. Too many hitting the floor. We had a lot of missed serves.”
Each of the sets was close from start to finish. The Falcons used a six-point run to open a 13-10 lead in the first set, and they led 20-19 before the Spartans scored five straight and seven of the next eight points.
Fitch had an 11-10 advantage in the second set before Boardman tallied eight of the next 10 points to open an 18-13 lead. The Falcons tied the score at 18, but the Spartans again pulled away.
Boardman took control early in the third set as Jessica Mowery served four winning points on a five-point run that produced a 6-2 lead. Blangero served six straight points later in the set to power the Spartans to a comfortable 19-13 lead.
A win over the rival Falcons is always welcomed by the Spartans.
“Playing against Fitch you never know what’s going to happen because they always have a solid team,” Siembida said. “They always have good athletes, and they don’t let a lot of things hit the floor.”
Burkey had 13 digs and three aces. Blangero had 12 kills and 19 digs. Clark finished with eight kills, 18 assists, one ace and 11 digs.
Khala Cameron had four aces and five kills for the Falcons. Nichole Noday and Ashley Fuller each had eight assists, while Gia Direnzo recorded 12 digs.