Woodridge volleyball overcomes injuries to stay hot

Roger Gordon
Correspondent

The injury bug hit the Woodridge volleyball team hard a couple weeks ago, losing three players for its home match Sept. 24 against Metro Athletic Conference rival Field.

The Bulldogs, however, fought hard and came away with a 25-20, 16-25, 25-18, 23-25, 15-12 victory over the Falcons.

“Field brought it. I thought they competed very well, but I’m proud of how well we finished and stayed strong,” Woodridge head coach Katie Cicione said. “We had to play without a lot of kids. To have our younger kids compete against a very good, athletic team like Field was just great.”

On Sept. 29, Woodridge routed MAC rival Ravenna at home on Senior Night, 25-13, 25-11, 25-10. The Bulldogs improved to 10-4 overall and 7-2 in the MAC.

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Leading the way for Woodridge in the win over Field were senior setter Alyssa Speakman and senior outside hitter/defensive specialist Bella McBride. Speakman had 42 assists, 15 digs and four kills, while McBride totaled 30 digs, nine kills and seven aces.

“Alyssa had a lot of pressure on her, having to play without the normal kids who are in her offense,” said Cicione. “She stayed composed and was a good leader the entire match. Bella was another kid who we had to put a lot of pressure on to succeed during that match. She dealt with the pressure very well and was a key part of our defense throughout all five sets.”

Senior defensive specialist Sarah Abood had 38 digs and two kills, and junior outside hitter Emily Dennison had 18 digs, 10 kills and two aces.

Senior middle hitter/right-side hitter Audrey Donnelly had 14 kills, four blocks, two aces and two digs, senior defensive specialist Jordan Ritterbeck contributed 14 digs and sophomore right-side hitter Morgan Clarke totaled 10 kills and three digs.

“Morgan was one of our kids who had to step up, and she stepped up,” Cicione said. “She progressed throughout the whole match, and that’s what we needed from her. We needed her to learn the type of tempo it takes to compete, and she competed well.”

Freshman middle hitter Hope Donnelly, Audrey’s sister, had two kills, two blocks and two digs, while senior defensive specialist Morgan LaMancusa had two digs.

The coach was happy to have her injured players back for the win over Ravenna.

“It was fun,” she said. “We were able to get to some normalcy again.”

Speakman had 31 assists, four kills, three aces, two digs and a block, senior outside hitter/defensive specialist Mya Lathem had 11 kills, eight digs and four aces, while Abood contributed 11 digs and a pair of aces.

“Mya is one our kids who was injured, and she came back on fire,” said Cicione. “She stayed competitive and adjusted well to Ravenna’s speed. Sarah is our everything to our defense. She played a consistent match and stayed competitive the whole time.”

McBride had 10 kills, four digs and two aces, Audrey Donnelly had four kills, two digs and two aces and Hope Donnelly totaled six kills and two blocks.

LaMancusa had six digs, Clarke had five kills, Dennison had three kills and two digs and Ritterbeck contributed three digs and two aces.

Cicione has high hopes for the remainder of the season.

“I want the girls to continue to fight hard and work hard for that second-place finish in the MAC,” she said.

Woodridge was scheduled to play at Coventry, which is undefeated and in first place in the conference Oct. 1.

The Bulldogs were scheduled to travel to Copley Oct. 3 at 11 a.m. They are set to play at conference rival Streetsboro Oct. 6 at 7 p.m. and are scheduled to host conference foe Cloverleaf Oct. 8, also at 7 p.m.