Tallmadge volleyball gets past Barberton on Volley for the Cure night

Roger Gordon
Correspondent

It was Volley for the Cure Night Oct. 6 at James O. Maddox Court for the volleyball match between Tallmadge and Suburban League American Conference rival Barberton.

One individual who was honored was somebody who has worked with and helped the Blue Devils through the years. Another individual who was honored was a parent of one of the Tallmadge players.

“It was personal for the team,” Tallmadge head coach Jim Maloof said. “It meant a lot to the players, and obviously it was a little emotional for them.

The Tallmadge volleyball team honored two local breast cancer survivors during Volley for the Cure night Oct. 6 at James O. Maddox Court.

"They came out in the first set and weren’t really quite focused. We made a lot of errors that we normally wouldn’t make. Once the set was over I said to the girls, ‘Hey, I understand where we’re at.’ They just needed to refocus, and once they did that, we were fine.”

The Blue Devils went on to defeat the Magics 16-25, 25-14, 25-15, 25-18. They improved to 13-3 overall and 7-2 in the American Conference.

Leading the way for Tallmadge were junior setter Ellie Kirker and senior libero Kelsie Horner. Kirker had 43 assists and six aces, while Horner totaled 21 digs and 13 service points.

“We’ve been working on some different things with Ellie,” said Maloof. “She just keeps getting better, keeps adding more to her game. I haven’t seen the limit of her volleyball IQ. She just keeps growing.

“On the serving end of it, there were couple times where we needed some aces, little things to change the momentum or build the momentum, and Ellie hit them at just the right time.

“That was a great performance from Kelsie. Defensively, she did a great job reading the hitter. The digs were nice, but it was the quality of the digs that allowed us to run a nice offense. She did a great job serving, too, helping to create a little separation when we needed it.”

Sophomore middle hitter Kendall Kirkland had 11 kills and two blocks, and senior outside hitter Emma Eyre also had 11 kills.

“I think that was Kendall’s best match of the season,” Maloof said. “She’s been on a steady improvement curve. She was really connecting. She moved the ball around well. She was getting good power on her kills. They were a difference maker.

“Emma does a great job every match. She’s just such an asset on the court – front row or back row. She got us some really good kills. It’s nice to have that hitter who you can throw that ball out to. She’s going to get the job done.”

According to the coach, his team hopes to stay on the road it is on.

“We’re just going to keep working hard and try to stay as focused as we can, keep improving and getting stronger,” he said.

Tallmadge is scheduled to play at American Conference rival Highland Oct. 8 at 6:30 p.m. before hosting league crossover rival Brecksville-Broadview Heights Oct. 10 at 11 a.m.

The Blue Devils are scheduled to host Revere Oct. 13 and travel to Aurora Oct. 15. Both are conference matches that are set to begin at 6:30 p.m.