By RANDY BRUNS
MARIA STEIN — The St. Henry Redskins came calling on the
Marion Local Flyers at the Hangar on Thursday night to continue
a volleyball rivalry that’s been back-and-forth the past
In each of those three years, St. Henry has won the Midwest
Athletic Conference battle while Marion rebounded to take a
sectional tournament game later in the season.
After round one this year, the trend continued as the Redskins
pummeled the Flyers 15-6, 15-7 in two games that saw the visitors
pull away midway through the action and win going away.
St. Henry’s record is now 5-1 overall and 2-0 in the MAC,
while Marion falls to 4-2 and 1-1 in league play.
“With the lineup we have right now, everybody can play
their position really well,” said St. Henry coach Lori
Schwieterman. “It helps us that at three of our positions
we have front row players and back row players, so we can specialize
and put up a big block. When we’re on, we’re going
to be consistently good.”
Consistent, indeed. St. Henry was solid all night in all phases
of the game, something Marion coach Amy Kucharski couldn’t
say about her charges.
“St. Henry is an excellent team and they played awesome
tonight,” said Kucharski. “They had good serving,
setting, defense, blocking, just everything. It wasn’t
just one thing with us, either, it was a combination of things
that just weren’t very good. It just wasn’t our
night, that’s for sure.”
Game one started out with a pair of scoring runs from both teams
that resulted in a 6-4 Redskin lead. From there, the visitors
took off and vaulted to an 11-6 advantage that forced Kucharski
to spend her second timeout. The break didn’t help the
Flyers, as the Redskins took control with a kill and a stuff
block, and after two Flyer hitting errors, the game was over.
The second game began with the Flyers taking a 5-1 lead, thanks
to four errant Redskin kill attempts. A timeout by Schwie-terman
fixed things quickly, though, as the visitors rallied to grab
a 7-5 lead. A Marion ace got them to within 7-6, but four St.
Henry points brought the bulge to 11-6. Another Marion ace followed,
but St. Henry’s attack never relented and provided them
with the four more points they needed for a victory.
Although the whole St. Henry squad hit well, the most impressive
performances came from the “Lethal Lindsays” —
Lindsay Hess and Lindsay Puthoff. Hess, a senior, and Puthoff,
a junior, controlled the net all night long, as the two combined
for 16 kills and four stuff blocks. Puthoff almost single-handedly
finished off the first game, recording a kill to get the serve
back and then notching two more kills and a stuff block in the
final five-point flurry.
“They’ve got to dominate, and I’ve told them
that,” said Schwie-terman of the front row pair. “They’ve
got to be all over the net, blocking and moving. We work on
that every week in practice, and I thought the whole team blocked
and moved well tonight.”
For her part, Kucharski will try to take the Flyers’ subpar
performance and turn it into a learning experience.
“Obviously one of our goals was to beat St. Henry in the
regular season for the first time in who knows when,”
said Kucharski. “That’s not going to happen this
season, but there’s a lot of season to be played and you
never know what’s going to happen in the conference. We
just need to stay positive and learn from this. We learned from
our loss to Lehman (this year) and we came back and beat them.”
Both teams return to action next week on the road. St. Henry
will travel to Sidney on Tuesday to take on Lehman, while Marion
motors to Darke County on Monday where it will face Ansonia.