Hudson volleyball shows versatility in straight sets win over Stow
HUDSON — The rivalry between Stow-Munroe Falls and Hudson has many flashpoints, but some of the biggest clashes have come on the volleyball court.
Over the years, the Bulldogs and Explorers have butted heads with league or district titles on the line.
Both programs are going through a bit of rebuilding process, with Hudson only fielding two seniors this year and Stow off to a slow start.
It's still Stow vs. Hudson, however, and the Explorers were anxious to take on their rivals Sept. 10 at Ray "Buck" Hyser Gymnasium.
Playing on its Senior Night, Hudson honored seniors Morgan Gaeta and Brooke Ramlow by sweeping the Bulldogs 25-17, 25-15, 25-22.
Hudson improved to 4-2, 3-2 in the Suburban League National Conference
Hudson coach Brad Disandis notes the Explores were adjusting their game a bit, as Hudson recently lost outside hitter Allyson Yanak for the season to a knee injury. With one of his top weapons down, Disandis saw six different Explorers record kills against Stow.
"We want to be balanced and I think we were tonight," Disandis said. "Obviously, we've got Page [Gross] and Rylyn [Dearstine] in the middle and they both do great work. Having a left-handed hitter like Brooke [Ramlow] is a big plus for us."
Meanwhile, Stow was at the end of a busy week. After losing in five sets to Twinsburg Sept. 8, the Bulldogs scored their first win of the season Sept. 9, beating St. Vincent-St. Mary 25-20, 26-24, 23-25, 25-14.
Having played nine sets of volleyball in the previous 48 hours, Stow coach Sara Snyder admitted her team's legs were spent when they played the Explorers.
"I think we were tired," Snyder said. "We changed up a lot of things tonight, just to give our girls a break."
Serving was was a weapon throughout the match for Hudson, as the Explorers seized the lead early in the first set, thanks to five straight service points from libero Ana Faust.
Stow was forced to call timeout down 13-8, but Hudson got another run of serve from Gaeta, who pushed the score out to 18-11.
Stow never recovered from the deficit, as Hudson claimed the first set when Stow was unable to return a bump deep in the Bulldogs' end.
Hudson got plenty of contributions at net, with Ramlow leading the Explorers with 11 kills, many of which were cross-court spikes.
"She had a great game," Disandis said. "I'm glad she had a good match on Senior Night."
Faust helped Hudson take command of the second set as well. After it was tied 3-3 early, Faust ran off 10 straight service points give Hudson a 14-3 lead.
Faust led the Explores with three aces and 19 digs.
Again, Stow found the early deficit insurmountable. Hudson claimed set two when Ella Beard put down a kill off the Stow bump.
With nothing to to lose, Snyder threw everything she could at Hudson in the third set, including moving Stow into a 6-2 formation at times.
Bulldogs backup setter Chrissy Markulis made the most of the switch, she led the team with six service points and two aces.
However, Snyder admitted she ended up putting Markulis in a tough spot.
"We ran out of subs and my little setter had to play on the front line," Snyder said. "Chrissy did a great job, though."
With Hudson committing some unforced errors in third set, Stow had a lead of 17-13, forcing Disandis to call timeout.
Then Gross asserted herself.
After putting down a kill to end Stow's run, Gross rattled off four straight service points, including two aces, to get Hudson the lead back at 18-17.
The middle hitter had a solid all-around match, with nine kills, three blocks and three aces for the Explorers.
"She really pulled us out of it," Desandis said.
"They have a true middle hitter," Snyder said of Gross. "They were playing a lot of quick hits in the middle."
With the momentum shifted, Hudson took over at the net down the stretch. Ramlow's 11th kill of the night gave Hudson match point.
While the Bulldogs staved off one match point due to a Hudson net violation, Gross put down a kill to end the match.
Disandis praised setter Melissa Hansen, who finished 38 assists, as she pushed Hudson's attack all over the court.
"She's only a sophomore, so she's only going to get better," Disandis said. "She's doing a great job in our 5-1 set."
Stow starting setter Olivia Harris had 15 assist, while Stow got six kills from middle hitter Delany Harris and five kills from Sydney Braunschidel. Braunschiedel also led Stow with six digs.