It’s early, but the Tallmadge volleyball team is off and running thus far.
The Blue Devils continued their torrid start to the season Tuesday with a 25-20, 26-24, 25-10 victory at Suburban League American Conference rival Barberton.
Tallmadge improved to 7-1 overall and 4-0 in the American Conference.
"We lost at Barberton last year and didn’t play well at all in that match," Blue Devils head coach Jennie Perdue said. "So we tried to stay positive and stay aggressive and we did that."
Leading the way for Tallmadge was freshman setter/defensive specialist Ellie Kirker, who had 16 assists and 13 service points, including four aces.
Junior setter Amelia Perdue had 20 assists and two blocks.
Senior middle hitter Alex Perrin had 10 service points, including six aces, seven kills and two blocks, while junior outside hitter Sydney Kirker, Ellie’s sister, contributed nine digs, eight service points and seven kills.
"Sydney had a strong match both defensively and offensively," Perdue said. "She served well, too."
Sophomore libero Kelsie Horner had 11 digs, while junior outside hitter Jill Catalano had six digs.
With six kills apiece were junior right-side hitter Katie Seeker and sophomore outside hitter/defensive specialist Emma Eyre.
On Saturday, Tallmadge finished in second place out of eight teams in the Hilltopper Classic Tournament at Chardon.
In their opening match, the Blue Devils easily defeated Orwell Grand Valley 25-8, 25-16.
"I was able to use a lot of different girls at different positions because Grand Valley wasn’t as strong as some of the other teams that were there," Coach Perdue said.
Tallmadge then beat Burton Berkshire 26-24, 25-16.
"We were ahead pretty big in the first set, but we let Berkshire come back," Coach Perdue said. "We were able to fight back to win that set. Then we were able to play solidly in the second set."
In their final match, the Blue Devils lost a close one to Chardon 27-25, 25-23.
"It was a really great match," Coach Perdue said. "We were with Chardon every step of the way. We answered everything that they gave us.
"They have 10 seniors on their team. For us to do what we did against them with only one senior showed that we can hang with them.
"We were up 23-19 in the second set, but our girls played not to lose the rest of the way. Nobody wanted to make the dumb mistake."
In the three matches combined, Amelia Perdue had 32 assists and 12 kills, while Perrin had nine kills and four blocks. Both made the all-tournament team.
"Amelia and Alex did very well," Coach Perdue said.
Overall, Ellie Kirker had 38 assists. Seeker had 14 kills, while Sydney Kirker had a dozen kills. Horner totaled 17 digs, and Catalano contributed 11 digs.
On Sept. 6, Tallmadge defeated American Conference rival Copley 25-18, 20-25, 25-21, 21-25, 15-8 at James O. Maddox Court.
"It was a competitive match," Coach Perdue said. "It was a good test for us. Copley beat us twice last year, so it was nice to beat them. They are one of the stronger teams in the conference.
"The girls played really well, played as a team. We were evenly distributed. We played good defense, too. The girls really showed some heart."
Amelia Perdue had 21 assists and 13 service points.
"Amelia is strong all-around," Coach Perdue said.
Ellie Kirker had 24 assists and seven service points.
"Ellie is our stabilizer," the coach said. "She makes things look so simple. She helps set up real well and has a strong serve also."
Perrin had 17 kills, seven service points and a block.
"Alex had a really strong night," Coach Perdue said. "She really kicked it up in the third set."
Sydney Kirker had 12 kills, while Seeker had nine kills and a block. Horner contributed nine service points and sophomore middle hitter Maddie Arnold recorded a block.