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Grizzly Volleyball Remains Undefeated In Win Over Nordonia

The Grizzlies (7-0) pulled off another win Thursday night against the Nordonia Knights (2-7), a Suburban League opponent. The Grizzlies won in three sets but the Knights put up a fight. The Knights started the match off with a 7-2 run putting the Grizzlies in a position that they were not used to. Sophomore outside hitter, Lauren Decker, lit a fire within the Grizzlies, going on a run and tying the score at 8-8.

“We knew that we had to step up,” Decker said. “We are a mentally tough team and we knew we could come back.”

Sophomore outside hitter Lauren Decker (16) and Sophomore Setter Rowan Kelly (21) setting up in serve receive. Kelly had 19 assists and Decker had 16 kills. Photo Courtesy of Lynn Decker.

The first set continued to waver as the Grizzlies and the Knights traded points back and forth. Tied at 17-17, Coach Ally Wines called a timeout and the Nordonia crowd erupted, screaming and cheering as if they had won the game. 

“There is definitely a target on our back being undefeated,” Wines said. “But we’ve talked about that all summer and it is definitely something that we are ready for.”

The Grizzlies proved that they could handle themselves in tight situations when they took the lead at 23-22 and won the set at 25-22.

The undefeated Grizzlies changed their lineup from previous games, running a 6-2, which is a formation that has two setters on the floor at once instead of the formation with one setter which they were used to. The Grizzlies went back to the lineup they were comfortable with and it clearly changed the trajectory of the game. 

The Knights lost momentum after the Grizzlies’ comeback and did not come out as strong, trailing 10-4 early in the second set. 

“We were lacking focus in the first set,” Decker said. “Coach Ally told us we needed to step up and play our game.”

The Grizzlies beat the Knights in the second set with plays by junior, Maddie Blackburn, who had seven digs and four aces, as well as sophomore, Rowan Kelly, who had 19 assists and four aces.  

The third set was not much different from the second as the Grizzlies continued to gain momentum. The Grizzlies pushed to an 8-1 lead, forcing the Knights to take an early timeout. The timeout did not stop the Grizzlies as they continued to increase their biggest lead of the game, 16-3. 

Senior Brooke Manfull (right) and Junior Reese Kelly (left) going up for a block against Nordonia. Manfull ended up with 2 successful blocks. Photo Courtesy of Lynn Decker

The final score was 25-7 and it was fitting that Decker had the kill that ended the game. Decker ended up with 16 kills, five aces and showed a lot of leadership in a high-stakes match. 

“Lauren has grown immensely from last year to this year in her self-confidence and her leadership,” Wines said. 

Some other notable performances came from senior, Brooke Manfull, who had two blocks, and senior, Avery Nicholson, who had five assists and six digs. 

JV volleyball also beat the Knights in two sets, 25-15 and 25-23, and is now 6-1 overall. The Grizzlies take on the Stow Bulldogs next Tuesday and the Solon Comets next Thursday in two big league games.

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Brooke Baughman, Opinion Editor
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