Injuries and miscues hobbling Woodridge volleyball down the stretch

Roger Gordon
Correspondent

It was a fitting conclusion to a tough week for the Woodridge volleyball team.

After splitting the first two sets at Metro Athletic Conference rival Streetsboro Oct. 6, the Bulldogs had to forfeit the match due to a miscommunication regarding one of their players entering the competition and about to play too many sets in one night, including the junior varsity match.

The “defeat” dropped injury-ravaged Woodridge to 10-7 overall and 7-3 in the MAC. The Bulldogs are without four of their starters.

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Woodridge began the week Oct. 1 with a 25-10, 25-11, 25-13 loss at MAC rival Coventry. Then, on Oct. 3, the Bulldogs fell at Copley 25-20, 25-13, 25-13.

“We’re struggling right now in trying to get kids healthy to be able to compete against the caliber of teams like Coventry and Copley,” Woodridge head coach Katie Cicione said.

Despite the loss to Coventry, there were bright spots, including senior outside hitter/defensive specialists Mya Lathem and Bella McBride. Lathem had 11 digs and five kills, while McBride totaled 11 digs and four kills.

“Mya’s defense was consistent and stuck to the game plan the whole time, and that’s what we needed from her for playing that type of opponent,” said Cicione. “Bella also played very consistent defense the entire match.”

Senior defensive specialist Sarah Abood had seven digs.

“Sarah is playing a very efficient game now,” Cicione said, “which is honestly holding us together until we can get our kids back healthy.”

Senior setter Alyssa Speakman had 14 assists and six digs. Senior middle/right-side hitter Audrey Donnelly had two digs and two blocks, while senior defensive specialist Jordan Ritterbeck contributed three digs.

Junior outside hitter Emily Dennison had three kills, sophomore right-side hitter Morgan Clarke had two kills and freshman middle hitter Hope Donnelly, Audrey’s sister, numbered two blocks.

In the loss to Copley, Speakman had 15 assists and three digs.

“Alyssa is playing very consistent,” said Cicione. “She’s making sure we run our offense efficiently.”

Audrey Donnelly had four kills, three digs and a block, and Clarke hung up five kills.

“Audrey is stepping up in big roles right now,” the coach said. “She’s keeping our team playing together and motivating the girls to be the best they can be.

“Morgan is playing consistently and she’s trying hard and competing, and that’s what we need from her right now.”

Abood had 13 digs, McBride had seven digs and four kills, Lathem totaled five digs and three kills and freshman defensive specialist Grace Lightner contributed three digs.

“We’ve got to have the younger kids step up and fill some big shoes,” said Cicione. “We have a rough road right now, but we should have everyone back by next Tuesday.”

Woodridge is scheduled to host Springfield Oct. 13 before traveling to Norton for the regular-season finale Oct. 15 at 7 p.m.