Hudson volleyball rolls over Twinsburg in final home game
TWINSBURG — Sometimes in high school sports, experience is everything.
Having a senior-heavy lineup can sometimes be the difference between winning and losing.
As Hudson volleyball proved with its visit to Twinsburg Oct. 8, that is not always the case.
Twinsburg features a lineup of seven seniors, all of whom were playing their final home game against the Explorers. By contrast, Hudson has only two seniors on its roster, but the Explorers were in command throughout the match.
Taking advantage of total dominance at the net, Hudson cruised to a 25-10, 25-18, 25-9 sweep of the Tigers.
Hudson solidified its second-place position in the Suburban League National Conference, improving to 13-5 overall and 10-3 in the conference with one game left. Twinsburg dropped to 3-10 overall and in the conference.
Hudson coach Brad Disandis noted his entire team was good in form.
"They improved a lot in form last week," Disandis said. "We came out with good energy and good focus. We were able to play clean volleyball. I think our defense did a great job tonight. Our discipline on defense was very good."
In contrast to Hudson's multi-faceted attack, Twinsburg couldn't buy a kill for long stretches in the match. Tigers coach Jessica Radar noted Hudson had a lot to do with her team's struggles.
"They've got very strong blocking and were able to shut down some of our hitting," Radar said. "I think our girls got frustrated at times. We were out of system a lot tonight."
A big reason for the Explorers' dominance at the net was the performance of middle hitters Page Gross and Rylyn Dearstine.
The duo was the focal point of Hudson's attack. Dearstine led the Explorers with nine kills and three blocks, while Gross finished with seven kills and three blocks.
"We really need them to be where they were tonight," Disandis said of his middle hitters. "That's a lot of problems that we cause for teams because most team have only one good middle. We have two."
Dearstine and Gross' big match took Twinsburg middle hitter Bryanna Curry out of the match. Curry finished with only three kills on the night.
"Bry does a good job of staying within herself and playing within our system," Radar said. "Sometimes, though, we need her to get going so all the other girls can get going."
A cascade of hitting errors from Twinsburg combined with kills from four different Explorer led to leads of 11-3 and 17-4 for Hudson in set one.
Twinsburg was able to fend off two set points, but the Tigers dropped the first set when they were unable to return a kill attempt from the Explorers.
Hudson got off to a 6-1 lead in set two, thanks to nice serves from outside hitter Erica Kutchin, but the Tigers were much more competitive in the second set, cutting the lead to one point on several occasions.
Hudson didn't get comfortable in set two until a run of three straight aces from libero Anna Faust pushed the lead to 22-15. Faust led Hudson with 25 digs and four aces.
Twinsburg tried to respond, but a kill from Dearstine gave set two to the Explorers.
Up two sets, Disandis emptied his bench in set three, but the Explorers' onslaught kept coming. Six different Hudson players recorded kills in the third set, with Dearstine leading the charge with four.
Radar called timeout with Hudson leading 11-3 and 19-4, but nothing was able to slow the Explorers.
A kill from Gross on match point gave Hudson the win.
Explorer setter Melissa Hansen ran a smooth offense, as she finished with 28 assists.
Radar said, in the end, she had to tip her cap to Hudson.
"We knew they were having a great season, and we knew they were strong all over the floor," Radar said. "We just wanted to try to focus on ourselves tonight. We didn't do a very good job of that."