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Just keep winning: Girard sweeps Champion to move to 7-0

Correspondent photo / David Dermer Girard’s Esra Dede (14) celebrates with her teammates after a Girard point during the third set of their match against Champion, Wednesday night at Girard High School. Girard won 3-0.

GIRARD — Phil Walters describes his Girard Indians’ volleyball team as “high risk, high reward.”

That was evident throughout their three-set match against the Champion Golden Flashes Wednesday night.

It resulted in a 3-0 sweep (25-6, 25-22, and 25-17) that started off well, then got tight, and complicated, at times.

Girard (7-0) was led by Lauren Pallone (15 kills, 11 service points, six aces, and eight digs) and Bree Lattell (10 kills, 10 service points, five aces, and three blocks).

Kennedy Caldwell led the Golden Flashes (2-5) with two aces, six digs, and 11 points.

The first set featured a quick 8-0 start for Girard much in large part because of Champion errors.

“We got a bunch of points early,” Walters said. “It’s tough. Volleyball is a reaction sport.”

Things didn’t improve much in that first set until the Golden Flashes changed some things up that resulted in some success in the second set.

“We kind of saw what Girard had in the first game and then we made some adjustments,” Champion coach Megan Wagner said. “I think that carried through with the second game and with the third game. We figured some things out and were very competitive.”

That second set was very much back-and-forth with three lead changes and the largest advantage being 15-10 Girard.

Wagner felt her team needed to make sure its blockers were following Girard’s hitters.

“I think that we got a lot of good touches and we played really good defense around their hitters,” she added.

That change caused the Indians problems throughout much of the set as they overcame a 3-0 deficit and saw their 15-10 lead evaporate.

“It’s tough when they do that and kind of get us out of our system,” Walters said. “We made a lot of unforced errors, but I give their defense credit, they kept the ball alive a lot and played really well.”

In the end, tied 20 all, the Indians served well enough to come away with a 25-22 second set win.

The third set was more of what the second set looked like with it being back-and-forth.

Girard called a timeout down 11-9 after some unforced errors.

“We had seven passing errors, five serve receive errors, and about six service areas,” Walters said. “I don’t care who you play or what you’re playing, you can’t make that many unforced errors. We have to keep the ball on the court.

“Their middles were giving us some trouble. They were dumping the ball really well and working our openings. We had to alter our coverage zone. We started picking up a few of them. Early on though, they were getting some nice kills on us.”

That changed after the timeouts as the Indians outscored the Golden Flashes 11 to 2 to take a 20-13 lead.

Girard pulled off a little bit from the net just to try to clean the numbers up, because of the service errors in the second set.

“Let us just put the ball in and play some volleyball,” Walters added. “Normally we don’t miss that many, but it was affecting us.You can’t put the ball on the court. It affects other parts of the game. You can’t play. You can’t do much else.”

Champion got it within seven, 24-17, but couldn’t return serve on game point.

“Our offense has been strong all year,” Walters said. “We have several nice hitters, but two (Lauren and Bree) in particular that hit the ball really well. It’s pretty hard to defend us.”

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