By MICHAEL LETENDRE
PLAINVILLE – When the Bristol Eastern volleyball team gets its collective engines running at the same time, the Lancers have the firepower to out-race any opponents in its path.
However, when the squad doesn’t come out with that strength and fire to open the match, opponents seem to hang around much longer than expected.
Plainville did just that on Wednesday, Oct. 9 from the Ivan Wood Gymnasium and gave the Lancers quite a first period tussle.
But in the end, it’s Bristol Eastern high school volleyball and the team smoked a game, yet overmatched, Blue Devils’ club by a 3-0.
The game scores were 25-16, 25-6 and 25-10.
The Lancers were led by its co-captain, Jenna Rodjenski, as she wrapped up a game-high nine kills to go along with four digs, three aces and a big block.
Maggie Getler — Eastern’s other outstanding co-captain — added a solid night of serving and nailed 12-of-13 attempts.
Cheyenne Orsi added eight kills, Kaylee Cruz nailed five kills, and Bailey Wyrebek zipped up five digs, four aces and had one assist.
“She has a lot range being that far up above the net (for those kills),” said Eastern coach Stacy Rivoira of Orsi. “But I think we get equally as much power out of Jenna and we get a lot of consistency. I thought Kaylee Cruz played a great game. I thought she took some great swings both in the middle and on the outside.”
“I thought she had some key hits…I was really proud of her.”
And then there was the crafty Brianna Root who once again set the floor on fire for the Lancers.
Root zipped up five aces – nailing all 10 of her serves in the third and final game – while also adding four digs.
But the smallest player on the court used her “mad hops” and tallied a back-to-back points.
Root first blocked a shot and then sent a ball over that cleanly hit the floor in the second stanza for a kill that led to a 19-point win in the frame.
Daley made some solid serving contributions in the final game and zipped in five serves in a row to keep Eastern’s momentum going.
“She’s comes in for a couple games for us and she’s done a nice job,” said Rivoira of Daley. “We had a player that was sick and both her and Kelly Quirion are filling in her position for the moment and they’re doing a great job for us.”
For Plainville, Michelle Thibodeau made six digs, Sarah Ercoli went 6-of-7 on the serving front, while Emily Duda was 4-of-4 serving.
The first game was certainly a tit-for-tat affair and 28 points into the thing, the tilt was knotted at 14-14.
“We stayed with them for about half of that first set,” said Plainville coach Steve Compson. “(But) they’re a dominant team. That’s why they are who they are. For us to stick with them that long was a pretty good showing in that first set.”
Alicia Gorski zipped in a serve that couldn’t be returned — putting Plainville in front 2-0 to start — but Orsi helped propel Eastern on a 6-0 push to put the visitors on top by four.
Later, Ercoli flipped in an ace to tie the score at 6-6 but the Lancers kept its foot on the gas pedal to eventually take a 14-11 edge.
But off a bad Eastern serve, a Ercoli blast that was not returned – coupled with a Duda ace – the Blue Devils made it a 14-14 stalemate.
“(We were) very flat,” said Rivoira about Eastern’s start. “We started out flat and then our serving came along and I think that was our strong-suit in games two and three. We had Maggie serving, we have Angela (Daley) serving, and Bailey was serving strong.”
“They gave us lots of points and it made a big difference.”
However, Eastern put it all together – via an 11-2 push – as one last Savannah White hit was not returned and the Lancers took a 1-0 match lead off the 25-16 win.
“In game one, they played right with us,” said Rivoira. “We were giving them points off of our errors and they were forcing us to make errors too.”
Plainville remained an irritant going into the second period and off a bad Eastern serve, the Blue Devils just trailed by one at 6-5.
But all the defense, passing, and energy Plainville showed in that first game seemed to disappear and now the home team went flat.
Powered by a 19-1 game ending run — with Getler dropping in aces, Cruz picking up kills, and Wyrebek serving exceptionally well— the Lancers won it 25-6 to go up 2-0 with one tilt remaining.
“Our passing kind of abandoned us tonight,” said Compson. “And if you can’t pass, it’s impossible for any of the setters to do anything when it’s difficult to get the ball up. And even when we had some hits, we were unable to convert very many of them.”
“And I give Bristol Eastern credit for that because they had people in the right spots.”
Off a Rodjenski tip-over, a clever serve by Root that was not returned and one final hit by White, the Lancers were 25-10 victors and took the match 3-0.
“We didn’t play our best in game one but we did better in games two and three,” said Rivoira.