Aurora volleyball shows mettle in wins over Roosevelt and Tallmadge

Steve Batko
Correspondent

Aurora always seemed to always have an answer for league rival Kent Roosevelt.

In a volleyball match that featured a lot of spurts, the Greenmen stayed the course and finished strong to edge the Rough Riders 26-24, 23-25, 25-23, 25-23.

Trailing 23-19 in the fourth set, Aurora looked like it may have to go a fifth as Kent was seeking to forge a comeback for the second time.

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Fueled by some strong defensive play down the stretch and some opportunistic kills, Aurora went on a 6-2 spurt to finish and earn the victory to move to 5-4 overall and to 3-3 in the Suburban League American Conference.

It caught the eye of head coach Tyler Price.

“Every volleyball match has a rhythm to it,” he said. “There are moments where you might be playing very well, and then the next moment, you might be playing like it’s your first time playing volleyball. As much as I would love to be on top of our game and win 25-0 every match, it’s not realistic”

In the first set, Aurora finished with a 19-12 run.

“Good teams are able to weather the runs of other teams, and play well down the stretch when it is needed,” Price added. “That’s exactly what we were able to do at Kent.”

It’s the type of patience and vigilance that Aurora will need to have a solid post season.

“Kent has some great players, but when we needed to make a run or have a big kill or block, then we were able to come up with it,” Price said.

Alayna Fromwiller had a monster game for the Greenmen with 19 kills, but she had plenty of help.

“My hitters get all the glory,” said Price. “Lauren VonderHaar took control of portions of the game with her net play, while both Jordan Miller and Alayna came up with some great runs of points to close out the sets.

“Before it gets to my hitters, it all starts with the passes from Maria Parks, Brooke Fishback, or Ally DeSapri who are doing a great job of keeping the balls off the floor,” pointed out the coach.

“After the pass, Maggie Bradley is setting the ball in the same spot every time. In those tough times, we know that everyone will do their job and not wilt under the pressure.”

It’s the parts that make up the sum of the whole.

“I think it all comes down to our leadership and how the team is built,” explained Price. “At any given moment, in any match, any one of my players is able to be our go to player which prevents the other team from keying on one player.”

Outstanding defense was present – especially by VonderHaar and Parks, the libero.

VonderHaar had nine blocks, three solo and six on assist.

Parks had some sensational digs on hits by Rough Rider standouts Andrya Hanmore (17 kills, five blocks) and Jillian Hanna. She totaled 18 digs in all.

Bradley recorded 46 assists and DeSapri had two service aces.

Aurora also won another tight league test on the road at Tallmadge Sept. 22 by the score of 25-23, 25-20, 25-22.

The Greenmen did not succumb to the pressure by the talented Blue Devils.

“We played one of, if not the best match of the season,” proclaimed Price. “Tallmadge is always a good team, and they had beaten some really good teams in our conference so we knew that we were in for a fight.”

“Luckily, we went in there and took care of business and used that as a launching point for the rest of the season to get ready for the playoffs.”

Last year, as a fifth seed at the Tallmadge Division II sectional-district, the Blue Devils upset top-seed Coventry to reach the district finals before falling to sixth seed upstart Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary.

Aurora also was a fifth seed in 2019 at the Gates Mills district and reached the district semis, losing to Gilmour Academy (21-7), which reached Ohio’s Final Four.

This fall, the Greenmen have moved up to Division I as the post season will have a new-look alignment, featuring an option of three different 16-team brackets feeding into regional action.

In the win at Tallmadge, VonderHaar excelled with 15 kills and three blocks and Bradley had 38 assists.

The Greenmen have some league battles coming up on the road with a visit to Barberton Sept. 29, at Medina Highland Oct. 1 and at Kent Oct. 3.