BESSEMER — Playing with focused enthusiasm, the Wakefield-Marenisco volleyball team stunned Bessemer 25-22, 25-21 and 25-10 in a matchup of rivals in the House of Noise.
Cardinal senior Miranda Sibley was a force at the net with 11 kills and four blocks and she said she had played in at least 10 games against Bessemer since coming up as a freshman and this was only the second time she could recall beating the Speedgirls.
“We were all fired up in the locker room,” Sibley said. “I think we surprised ourselves with our potential and how we played in the first game. Then the momentum carried over to all the games. I’m very proud of our team. After the first game, we knew we could win, but none of us expected to win 3-0. This was definitely our best match. Bessemer played good, but we had three great games.”
Kathy Makela, who was filling in for coach Jessica Novascone, said she thought this win could be traced back to the first Speedgirl-Cardinal game in Wakefield. In that see-saw affair that went five sets, Bessemer pulled out a two-point win when it looked like W-M would win the match.
“They wanted this match that much more after losing in five games,” Makela said. “They had a focus on for this game, so it didn’t surprise me.
“And their wins at Hurley and Butternut gave the girls confidence they can beat teams at this level.”
Bessemer coach Shelly Mettler seemed baffled by the Speedgirl team that took the court on Thursday night.
“I knew they’d be tough, but we just really didn’t show up to play tonight,” Mettler said. “We were slow, super-sluggish and we didn’t get to anything. Homecoming may have got to them. Our heads were not in it and the focus was not there. Hats off to Wakefield-Marenisco; they really wanted it tonight. It was like the war was over before it started.”
Bessemer led 7-4 in the first set after an ace by Sarah Trudgeon and a hard kill by Mikhayla Sampson. But W-M’s Lauren Grace responded with a hat trick of kills (three in a row) and the Cardinals went ahead 15-13.
But Trudgeon started serving bullets for aces and Brenna Bogaczyk tipped a ball to an open area as Bessemer regained the lead 20-17.
After W-M tied the game at 22-22, Hallee Yon had a service ace and Sibley pounded out two kills as the Cardinals won the first set, 25-22.
Behind Hallee Yon’s serving, W-M jumped out to an 8-4 lead to open the second set. Grace hit a shot that hit the top of the net but dropped over onto Bessemer’s side for a point (12-6).
But the Speedgirls responded behind blocks and a kill by Bogaczyk and a perfect Trudgeon tip right on the back-line to take a 17-16 advantage.
But W-M answered back as Kassidee Yon served two aces and Brianna Greenough and Sibley hit kills. Bessemer hit their serves into the net and shots went wide as the Cardinals took the set 25-21.
“By the third game, we had them backed up against the ropes and we got inside Bessemer’s head,” Makela said.
Mettler said she wasn’t ready to give up after losing the second set in a row, but W-M started the final set with a 6-0 advantage.
“We came out for the third game and made five mistakes,” Mettler said.
Sibley served seven straight service points as the Cardinals kept rolling and took a 14-6 lead. When a Bessemer shot hit the ceiling, the lead increased to 20-7. W-M picked up the five points needed for the win, highlighted by a big Sibley block at the net.
“I think this team is ready to make a run the rest of the season,” Makela said.
Besides Sibley’s big night, sophomores Lauren Grace and Kassidee and Hallee Yon played well. Grace smashed nine kills and Kassidee Yon dished out 17 assists and served three aces. Her sister, Hallee, had three kills and Summer Curtis, who can serve with the best of them, notched five aces.
For the Speedgirls, Bogaczyk was a force in the middle with 10 kills and four blocks. Trudgeon slammed three aces along with four kills and eight assists. Claire Tourville had two aces to go with seven assists and both Sampson and Jenika Laukka had three kills.
Bessemer won the JV contest two games to none.
W-M goes to South Shore next Tuesday, while Bessemer will host a cross-over game with a team from the West Division of the Indianhead Conference for fourth place. Their opponent has not been determined.