Western Wayne's girls varsity volleyball team has rallied from a slow start.
NEW MILFORD — When last we checked in on Western Wayne's varsity volleyball team, the Lady 'Cats were mired in the toughest portion of their fall slate.
The local lasses had opened the Lackawanna League season with two solid wins, but then dropped 4-of-5 matches to some of the region's perennial powerhouses.
"We're going to learn alot about ourselves," veteran Coach Darren Thorpe told TWI Sports at the time. "We have a bunch of young players and they'll need to mature in a hurry."
As it turns out, that's exactly what happened. Back on Sept. 19, the Lady 'Cats suffered a heartbreaking 3-2 loss at Lackawanna Trail. Since that night, Western Wayne has reeled off five consecutive victories.
Coach Thorpe's girls made Susquehanna their latest victim. The Sabers won the first encounter in Week Two, but the Lady 'Cats earned a measure of revenge Wednesday night, rallying for a 3-2 victory of their own.
The final scores were 25-15, 19-25, 22-25, 25-17, 17-15.
"We lost four matches during the first half," Coach Thorpe said. "And, one of our biggest goals is to see how many of those we can get back in the second half. Beating Susquehanna is definitely a step in the right direction."
On the Court
Western Wayne got off to a fast start in its re-match with Susquehanna.
Rebecca Carmody ignited the offense, leading the Lady 'Cats to a 25-15 Game One win. The sophomore outside hitter piled up nine kills, three service aces and 23 digs.
"She set the tone for the match," Coach Thorpe said. "Rebecca is one of our most consistent players and she really got us going in this one."
Susquehanna rebounded to take the next two games, putting Western Wayne on the brink of a disappointing defeat. The Lady 'Cats rallied, though, thanks in large part to the efforts of two players.
Jordan Jacques began asserting herself in Game Four. The junior outside hitter dominated play at the net, hammering home a match-best 14 kills. Jacques also contributed four aces and 21 digs to the cause.
"Jordan played well all night long," Coach Thorpe said. "She's an incredibly athletic kid. Jordan always hustles and never quits on a point. She's becoming a very good all-round volleyball player."
Kristin Thorpe ran Western Wayne's offensive attack with ruthless precision. Still just a sophomore, Thorpe is developing into one of the league's best setters.
Against Susquehanna, Kristin dished out an eye-popping 27 assists.
"She's really starting to take control of things out there and I'm glad to see it," Coach Thorpe said. "Kristin has improved so much from her freshman year. She's gaining confidence all the time and making some really good decisions with the ball."
To the End
Western Wayne rallied to take Games Three and Four, evening the match score at 2-2.
This led to an emotional 5th game that went right down to the wire. Earlier in the season, the Lady 'Cats seemed to run out of gas in epic encounters like this one. However, they battled right to the end against the Sabers.
"We had a ton of injuries early on," Coach Thorpe said. "So, it was kind of hard to develop any real chemistry. Now that we've got just about everybody back at full strength, things are starting to gel."
Liz Sledzinski, Carmody and Thorpe have all returned to the line-up. Lauren Hanna suffered a knee injury and remains a question mark at least for the foreseeable future.
Nevertheless, the Lady 'Cats and Sabers battled back & forth, eventually arriving a 15-15 tie.
After Western Wayne took a 1-point lead, Jacques finally closed out the match. Jordan blasted her 14th and final kill of the night to seal the deal on a wild 17-15 triumph.
Score by Games...
WW (8-4) 25 19 22 25 17 - 3
SUS (9-4) 15 25 25 17 15 - 2