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Lady Spartans coming closer

Beckman, West Delaware still deliver 3-0 sweeps
The Solon bench celebrates a point during the second game against No. 3 (2A) Beckman Catholic Oct. 1. The Lady Spartans fell to the Blazers, 3-0.

SOLON– WaMaC powerhouses Beckman Catholic and West Delaware took 3-0 wins from Solon’s varsity volleyball team last week.
But the Lady Spartans’ scores keep creeping up.
Beckman, ranked No. 3 in Class 2A and atop the WaMaC East standings came to Solon Oct. 1 for the conference sweep, while the Lady Spartans traveled to Manchester Oct. 3 to face the fifth-ranked (4A) Hawks.
Beckman rolled (25-12, 25-14, 25-18), but Solon came closer on the road against West Delaware (25-13, 25-19, 25-19).
“Definitely, we struggled with our energy and hustle for sure against Beckman,” noted Solon head coach Sarah Ferin. “We had so many hustle plays and long rallies at West Delaware, it was a really fun match to see. Our adrenaline was pumping that night, a few less errors and we could have forced a fourth set, but again that's what we are working on each game so we get things cleaned up for postseason play.”
The Lady Spartans struggled out of the gates hosting Beckman.
The Blazers jumped out to an 8-1 lead in the first game, and a kill by senior Katie Yi stopped a later Beckman run with the Lady Spartans trailing 22-9. Solon went on its own run with Yi at the service line to make it 24-12, but a dink at the end sealed the game for Beckman.
The Lady Spartans took an early 4-1 lead in the second game before the Blazers rebounded, eventually taking an 11-9 lead and then distancing themselves for the win.
Solon’s offense struggled, connecting with 11 of 98 kill attempts, led by Yi with eight. Freshman Delaney Bombei (two) and sophomore Camryn Keith (one) accounted for the remainder. Freshman Kylee Flynn had 10 assists. Bombei and Keith led the team at the service stripe, going 8-10 and 10-12, respectively, with an ace each.
Defensively, the Lady Spartans were an active bunch, with 15 total blocks, including four each for Yi and Bombei, three for senior Jane Wilms and two each for senior Emma Harris and Keith. Wilms led the back row with 10 digs, while Fleck had eight and Flynn and junior Sydney Langenberg had seven each.
“Jane Willms and Delaney Bombei are really coming on strong with their hitting and Delaney with her blocking,” Ferin said. “Katie is still recovering from being sick but she is getting back into her rhythm.
“We are steadily improving, our game plan this season has been to improve with every match,” she continued. “We hit a bit of a stalemate and refocused on the small things that all add up to bigger points like blocking, serving consistently and lowering our hitting errors. They are all works in progress but this week our energy and drive picked back up.”
It was showing at Manchester, where the defense was joined by the offense.
The Hawks ran away with the first game, but the Lady Spartans kept the next two tight.
Offensively, Solon spread the ball around, with Wilms (eight), Yi and Bombei (seven) and Langenberg (six) helping the team to 36 kills out of 106 attacks. Flynn and Langenberg each had two aces and were 12-13 and 12-12 from the service line, respectively.
Solon had 12 blocks, led by Yi with six, Wilms with three and Flynn with two. Fleck (13), senior Brookelyn Whitford (11) and Yi (10) came up with double-digit digs.
“Our back row put up a lot of digs last night and that helped keep us in the game,” Ferin reported. “We took a step in the right direction as we go into the last few weeks of the season, we played a really good match at West Delaware and are looking forward to next week.”
The Lady Spartans were scheduled to face two more conference opponents before heading into the postseason– hosting Marion Oct. 8, and at Central DeWitt Oct. 10.
Solon will host varsity WaMaC Conference Pool Play Monday, Oct. 14, beginning at 4 p.m.
“Our team is looking at the big picture, getting better every set,” Ferin said. “That is our focus for the remainder of the season– push each other to play their best games, make mistakes because that's how we learn and figure out how to limit those mistakes. We play a really strong schedule and that has its ups and downs, but our confidence is high even with these losses and they are trusting the process and each other– this is a really fun team of dedicated players.”