One thing is certain: The opening set of Tuesday’s volleyball match between Tallmadge and Suburban League American Conference rival Kent Roosevelt was not a rout.
It took 66 points before the Blue Devils took the first set by a 34-32 score. They went on to win the second and third sets 25-14, 25-20 in Kent.
Tallmadge improved to 12-5 overall and 5-4 in the American Conference.
"That first set was exciting," Blue Devils’ first-year head coach Jim Maloof said. "Kent Roosevelt has a good team. They came out and did really well and they kept fighting and fighting and fighting in that first set.
"But we kept fighting and fighting and fighting too. It just came down to who wanted it the most. We made the plays when we needed to make them in that first set and we pretty much controlled the last two sets."
Leading the way for Tallmadge was junior libero Kelsie Horner, who had 23 digs.
"That’s a lot of digs," Maloof said. "That tells you Kelsie was all over the place, picking up a lot of balls. There were some nice rallies and she was in there keeping them alive and making key plays."
Junior outside hitter Emma Eyre had 11 kills, while senior outside hitter Jill Catalano totaled 10 service points.
"Emma does a really good job, especially on that right side," Maloof said. "She just connects with the ball and has a way of finding a hole and putting that thing away.
"Jill was hitting her zones and had a lot of movement on her serves. Obviously, that gave us an advantage because she was taking Kent Roosevelt out of system. It’s what kept her behind the service line to get more serves."
Senior setter/outside-opposite hitter Amelia Perdue had 23 assists. Senior middle-outside hitter/setter Katie Seeker had two aces and junior middle hitter Maddie Arnold hung up two blocks.
On Sept. 26, Tallmadge lost a tight one at Louisville 25-22, 22-25, 19-25, 25-15, 15-13.
"It was a very competitive match," Maloof said. "Louisville came out and played really well. We had an injury that threw our chemistry off a little bit, so I had to change some rotations around.
"As I tried to adjust throughout the match, I ended up having to stick a freshman, [outside hitter/defensive specialist] Ella Bee, on the court. She’d never seen varsity time before, but she did well.
"We stayed right there, but we just never quite got settled. We almost won, but we just didn’t have quite enough."
Sophomore setter Ellie Kirker paced the Blue Devils with 29 assists, 13 service points and four aces.
"Ellie’s numbers just kind of speak for themselves," Maloof said. "She also had a pretty good number of digs. She did a really good job across the board, not just in one area."
Perdue amassed 13 digs, and sophomore middle hitter Mia Hurst recorded three blocks.
"Amelia was all over the place," Maloof said. "She made great plays. To step in the way Mia stepped in, it was a good match for her. She hadn’t been seeing a whole lot of action on the varsity team.
"It’s those kind of performances that are getting Mia to where she needs to be. We gave her some more playing time because she was doing a good job blocking and we needed her to shut down a hitter. She did exactly what she needed to do. She made good blocks at key times."
Senior outside hitter Sydney Kirker had 16 kills.