Nordonia volleyball gets rolling after bumpy opener vs. Jackson

Roger Gordon
Nordonia outside hitter Joy Banks puts a kill down during a game against Hudson earlier last season. Banks finished with 23 kills in the Knights' 25-19, 25-23, 25-14 win at Copley Aug. 27.

If not for a mistake-plagued match in its season opener at home against Massillon Jackson Aug. 22, the Nordonia volleyball team would be 4-0 right now.

The Knights lost to the Polar Bears 21-25, 25-20, 26-24, 25-21.

“It was a tight match,” Nordonia head coach Tim Vasko said. “We just made too many unforced errors. They were in the high teens, and we needed to be in the low teens to come out on top. We missed 21 serves, and we usually average about 10 or 11.”

Since then, the Knights have cleaned things up.

Norodonia won 25-11, 25-14, 25-14 Aug. 25 at Mentor, won 25-19, 25-23, 25-14 Aug. 27 at Copley and were victorious 25-16, 25-15, 25-18 Saturday at Brunswick.

As a result, the Knights improved to 3-1 on the season.

In the loss to Jackson, senior setter Riley Monroe led the way for Nordonia with 47 assists. Senior outside hitter Joy Banks had 20 kills, while senior libero/defensive specialist Carina Collica numbered 14 digs.

Senior middle hitter Aleana Mason had an ace. With a block apiece were senior right-side hitter Faith Sparks and junior middle hitter/outside hitter Mya Sopata.

The win over Mentor was a pretty easy match for Nordonia.

“Mentor is a little down this year,” said Vasko.

Again, Monroe led the way with 44 assists.

“Riley is doing really well,” Vasko said. “She’s stepping up to the plate. She’s working hard in practice, and the results are showing.”

Banks and Sopata each had 16 kills. Sopata also had a block. Collica netted 11 digs, and Mason contributed three aces and a block.

According to the coach, the wins over Copley and Brunswick were closer than the scores indicate.

“I knew Copley and Brunswick were going to be big challenges,” he said. “They’re two pretty sound teams. We played extremely well.

“The Copley match was a good one. We served really aggressive, and we serve received extremely well. Our setter got the ball where it needed to go. Our hitters just tore them apart with those good sets.”

Monroe had 44 assists, and Banks had 23 kills and a pair of aces. Collica contributed 12 digs.

“Carina played an outstanding match,” said Vasko. “She hit the ball well. She put herself in the right place to make all those digs.”

With two blocks apiece were Sparks and Mason. Sopata had two aces.

Vasko said his team played well all around in the win over Brunswick.

“Our serving and our hitting didn’t allow their hitters to get much on us,” he said. “Our serving, aggressive hitting and blocking really showed up.”

Monroe had 48 assists, and Banks totaled 23 kills and 12 digs. She needs 40 kills to break the school’s all-time record.

Junior Celine Puscian had five blocks, and Sopata served three aces.

“Celine stepped up and did a really good job,” said Vasko.

“I’m extremely happy where we are at this point in the season," Vasko added.

Nordonia is scheduled to open Suburban League National Conference play Sept. 1 at home against Hudson on Senior Night.

The Knights are scheduled to continue conference play Sept. 3 at Stow-Munroe Falls and Sept. 8 at home against Brecksville-Broadview Heights.

All three matches are set to begin at 6:30 p.m.