It took awhile, but the Woodridge volleyball team overcame a slow start to earn its first victory of the season Sept. 6 at home against Portage Trail Conference Metro Division rival Field 18-25, 25-19, 25-19, 25-16.
"After the first set, the girls found their rhythm. Once they got wound up they decided that it was time to continue the push to the end," said Bulldogs head coach Melinda Hosford. "Field was a very scrappy team. They got any ball that was coming over the net and sent it right back to us where we were scrambling to cover it."
Five nights earlier, on Sept. 1, Woodridge lost at PTC Metro foe Cloverleaf 25-18, 20-25, 25-19, 26-24.
Against Field, junior middle hitter Celina Whitely had 12 digs, five kills and three blocks.
"Celina did a nice job," Hosford said.
Junior right side hitter Alyssa Smith had four digs, four kills and two aces.
"Alyssa did a good job making some adjustments to keep the ball in play," said Hosford.
Freshman defensive specialist Lily Bowman and senior middle hitter Hannah Fitzsimmons were also major contributors - Bowman had six digs and Fitzsimmons totaled five kills and two aces.
"Lily has been working really hard in the back row and stepped in to help us with our libero out. She did a really great job covering a lot of court," the coach said. "Hannah has a really great wingspan. She has a nice touch on her serves. I'm looking forward to her being bigger at the block."
Senior outside hitters Breanna Arnett and Makayla Sypherd were their usual awesome selves. Arnett had 21 kills, 16 digs, four aces and a block, while Sypherd had nine kills, nine aces, 13 digs and two assists.
Junior setter Kaela Folatko totaled 35 assists, 11 digs and five kills.
Junior defensive specialist Ella Lathem injured her surgically-repaired knee and will be out of action for awhile.
In the loss to Cloverleaf, a number of Bulldogs were under the weather.
"The girls were just slow on their movements. It was not a well-played match on our behalf," Hosford said. "In the third set we fell behind early and started catching up too late. The fourth set was back and forth the whole way, but they won the important points at the end."
Leading the way for Woodridge were Arnett and Sypherd.
Arnett had 21 digs, 19 kills and four aces, while Sypherd had 16 digs, nine kills and a pair of aces.
"Breanna was a motivator, she communicated well on the court and she tried to get everyone fired up even though she wasn't feeling well," Hosford said. "Makayla struggled to find her best game. Her rhythm was slightly off, but she did a great job in the back row making passes so Breanna could get good kills."
Folatko had 31 assists and 10 digs. Junior defensive specialist Rachel DeMaio had 10 digs.
Woodridge was scheduled to take a 1-2 overall record and 1-1 PTC Metro mark into a Sept. 8 road match at division rival Coventry, but the result was not available at press time.
Next up for the Bulldogs are two division home matches -- Sept. 13 against Norton and Sept. 15 against Springfield. Both matches begin at 7 p.m.