By Rob Potter
LAKE HUNTINGTON A strong service game helped the visiting Tuxedo Lady Tornadoes defeat the Sullivan West Lady Bulldogs in an Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association Division IV volleyball match on Wednesday afternoon at Sullivan West High School.
Tuxedo swept SW in three games by the scores of 25-18, 25-15 and 25-18.
SW (1-3, 1-1 Div. IV) got off to a good start in game 1. An ace by Erika Stauch and a kill by Melissa McCormack gave the Lady Bulldogs an early 5-3 lead.
The score was tied five times before the Lady Tornadoes went ahead 15-14 when Sara Neyman served an ace.
Tuxedo (3-1, 3-1 Div. IV) held the lead for the rest of the game. The team closed out the game with a 10-3 scoring run.
Game 2 was tied several times early on. Aces by Kali Leu and Alex Gundermann helped Tuxedo take a 7-4 advantage.
The Lady Tornadoes then built upon their lead. Kaitlyn Ratsep served consecutive aces to increase the advantage to 15-6.
Later in the game, Kelly Ross served four aces in a row to give Tuxedo a commanding 24-13 lead.
SW began game 3 with a fury. Karalii Rabii made two kills and Barbara Whittaker served a pair of aces as the team jumped out to a 5-0 lead.
But the Lady Tornadoes gradually rallied to take the advantage. Alex Sabarese served an ace to knot the score at 11-11. SW then hit the ball out of bounds on an attempted kill, which gave Tuxedo a 12-11 lead.
Ratsep had two aces and a kill to help Tuxedo outscore SW 13-7 for the remainder of the game.
Ross paced Tuxedo with 14 service points, seven aces, four kills and two assists. Ratsep finished the match with eight points, six digs, five aces and four kills. Gundermann had five points, three assists, three digs and two aces.
“It was great to see our players serve the ball so well,” Tuxedo Coach Michelle Micklos said. “They work hard, they listen in practice and they play well together.
“Every one of these girls just loves to play volleyball,” Micklos added. “It’s nice to have such dedicated players out on the court.”
McCormack led the Lady Bulldogs with five points, three kills, one block and one dig. Whittaker had seven points, two digs and one block. Rebecca Corcillo recorded six kills, two points and one block. Brittney Milk registered three digs, two blocks, two kills and one point and Stauch had six points.
“They would hit the ball over the net to us and we would hit the ball back over the net to them. The ball would go back and forth for a while until we banged it into the net, which gave them a point,” SW Coach Cliff Kelly said. “They have a decent team. Most of the time when we played them the past three years, the match went five games.
“They served the ball very well today,” Kelly continued. “I don’t think they had many sideouts at all and we had several sideouts. We probably had a sideout 20 percent of the time and they had a sideout five or six percent of the time.”