Stitzel helps Tigers sweep Blue Devils
By BOB ETTINGER
Springfield volleyball player Jennie Stitzel, relatively quiet until the third game of a match at Western Reserve, is but one example of how the Tigers dropped the Blue Devils, 25-21, 25-9, 25-21, in Mahoning Valley Athletic Conference action on Thursday night.
Stitzel had six of her 11 kills in that third game as she helped the Tigers overcome a small deficit to seal the straight-set win.
“I was working with my setter, Kaelen [Yemma]. trying to find open spots,” Stitzel said. “She would tell me where to hit it and I would tell her where to set it. The back row really helped. They hit it where it was needed to set it up.”
The Tigers (5-2, 3-0) fell behind 15-11 after Western Reserve’s Dani Vuletich added two kills and two blocks and Laura Sigworth added an ace serve to a handful of Springfield misplays.
Stitzel and Makenzy Capoullez had kills on consecutive points to get the Tigers to within one, 20-19, before Yemma had a kill and stitzle consecutive kills to make it 22-21 in favor Springfield.
An ace from Capoullez and kills from Stitzel and Lyndsey Smith closed out the match.
Western Reserve opened the night pretty well in taking in an early 7-2 lead behind a block and a kill from Vuletich, an ace from Morgan Eichert and a kill from Sigworth.
Two miscues from the Blue Devils and an ace serve from Stitzel was enough for momentum to turn toward Springfield with the score at 12-10 in favor of Western Reserve. Smith had a kill and a block, Mariah Johnson had a kill and Yemma had an ace to put the Tigers in the lead, 14-13.
“The girls just gave up too many points,” Springfield coach Angela Jones said. “We were making too many unforced errors. I encouraged them to dig deep to find that player and that player came out.”
Consecutive aces from Lauren Ranelli, a kill from Stitzel and a block by Zoe Renaldy closed the first game.
Springfield carried that excitement all the way through the second game. By that point, it was too late for the Blue Devils.
“I think [Springfield] is a very solid team,” Western Reserve coach Jennifer Lorenzi said. “They’re a heck of a defensive team. Their hitters are smart. They always keep the ball up defensively. And we were out of position on defense, we didn’t get the ball where we needed to get the ball. Our serve receive didn’t help us today. We were out of position a lot and that hurt us. We were also moving while they were hitting the ball. We need to be stopped.”
Smith led the Tigers with 12 kills, Stitzel had 11 and Yemma had 23 assists.
Vuletich finished with seven blocks and five kills and Sigworth had six kills and nine assists.