BESSEMER — Bessemer did not bring its A game to the House of Noise on Thursday night, but the Speedgirls played solid volleyball and swept Hurley 25-22, 26-24 and 25-23 in Indianhead Conference action.
“This was probably one of our better games as far as hitting,” Speedgirl coach Shelly Mettler said. “Julie Ahnen had her best game overall. She was everywhere and put it together tonight. She carried us through. We moved her around and she can make the transition on the court easily. Sarah Trudgeon had a real good defensive game and was hustling.”
Ahnen had one ace and came through with eight kills and Trudgeon smashed two kills to go along with her seven assists. Ahnen was also a clutch performer as she had two big sideline kills at the end of the final set that choked off the Midgette's momentum and gave Bessemer the set and match.
Hurley played hard and gave Bessemer a battle in each set, but it wasn't enough to produce a win in any set.
“We started slow and fought back to make it close,” Hurley coach Liz Constantini said. “But Bessemer controlled the tempo of the game.”
In game one, senior Claire Tourville got the navy and white off to a fast start with two hard aces that bounced off a defender's hands and put the Speedgirls up 5-1. Two straight blocks by Brenna Bogaczyk increased the gap to 10-2.
Kills by Bessemer's Allyson Hansen, Ahnen and Bogaczyk stretched the lead to 23-14.
But Hurley responded. An ace by Shayna Pertile and a blocked tip by Becca Ratkowski added two points, but a Bogaczyk kill put Bessemer one-point away from a set win at 24-16.
Hurley's Brittany Czarnecki had a line-drive serve for ace, Bessemer couldn't get to two balls and committed two violations as the Speedgirl lead shrank to 24-22.
The game ended as Bessemer won on a net violation by Hurley.
Game two never had more than a two-point separation until Hurley hit a ball into the net and Bessemer opened up a 22-19 lead. There were six tie scores up until that time.
Hurley served an ace that bounced off a Bessemer set of hands and into the bleachers and a cross-court kill whittled the Speedgirl lead to 23-22.
The Midgettes won a point to shrink the lead to 25-24, but after a rally, a Bessemer shot fell in on the Hurley side of the court for the win.
“They were mixing up their serves with spin,” Mettler said. “It was hard to get the ball to the setters in the right spot.”
In the third game, Trudgeon's ace and a short Hurley shot gave the Speedgirls a 13-4 advantage.
With Hurley's Susan Walesewicz's sharp serving, Felicia Herlevi slammed a cross-court kill and another one down the middle and when Bessemer hit shots short, wide and air-mailed one, the lead shrunk to 14-12.
A kill by Makayla Wolfe and an ace by Julia Nelson finally got Hurley the lead at 16-15.
Hurley had momentum and Bessemer seemed tentative on some shots.
Czarnecki's ace even gave the Midgetts a two-point cushion at 20-18.
But the Speedgirls refused to fold as Ahnen hit the two big kill shots and Hurley had shots go into the net and long. The result was set and match for Bessemer.
Hurley was led by Czarnecki's four aces and Herlevi's seven kills. Nelson dished out 12 assists.
For the Speedgirls, Tourville had four aces and seven assists, while Bogaczyk was a force (as usual) at the net with three blocks and kills.
Mettler said even though Bessemer swept the match, this is the first year where the team hasn't had an easy match.
“All the teams in the PMC and Indianhead (conferences) are better and they're all tough teams,” Mettler said. “This match could have gone either way. All the schools now have junior high programs and they are all getting better and better.”
The Midgettes travel to the Phillips Tournament on Saturday, while the Speedgirls go to Marquette High School for a tournament on Saturday. Mettler said Bessemer will be one of the smallest schools there.
Hurley won the junior varsity match 25-20, 25-12 and 15-11.