There’s no easin’ into the season when it’s Fort Myers High and Bishop Verot.
The rivals, less than five miles apart, opened the volleyball season with a raucous showdown Thursday night that wound up with a three-game sweep (25-15, 25-22, 25-12) by the Green Wave at Bishop Verot High School.
It was the second season in a row the Wave took a 3-0 win against the Vikings in the opening match of the year. Fort Myers would go on to 26-4 mark in 2012 while Bishop Verot was 16-12.
Despite the sweep, the match was intense until Fort Myers pulled away in the third set.
“It’s always like this,” Green Wave coach Stephanie Martin said. “Back and forth, really slow, because it’s so tense for both teams it’s really hard to get good rallies going.”
Intensity on the court was matched by the dueling student bodies until the match ended and the Fort Myers students poured onto the floor in celebration.
The decisive moment of the night came on back-to-back calls that went against the Green Wave and left Fort Myers questioning the officials’ rulings.
Those calls had the Vikings up 20-16 and in position to tie the match at a game apiece. However, instead of letting the calls get to them, the Green Wave got to work. Fort Myers closed the game on a 9-2 run.
“We’ve been working on that,” Martin said. “Trying to play as a team, as one unit. So I was really proud we didn’t give up.”
For the Vikings, letting that second game get away allowed the match to get away as well.
“The second set was one we had to make,” Vikings coach Jeremy Ridgeo said.
“We fell a little short and you could kind of feel the momentum move pretty much permanently to Fort Myers.”
Bishop Verot showed some opening night jitters, with a number of missed serves and net violations.
“We’ll keep working on everything we need to work on,” Ridgeo said. “Service is something Fort Myers did exceedingly well tonight. They did it better than us and it showed on the scoreboard. You can’t give good teams all those extra chances.”
Briana Correa had 10 kills and nine digs for the Green Wave, while fellow junior Macy Jerger added 11 kills and six service aces. Amy Oxton, also a junior, contributed 26 assists.
“I thought that my number nine (senior Haley Golewski) and my number 10 (junior Amy Cedarburg) were very consistent,” Martin said. “And that’s what we need. It’s nice to have all the kills and stuff, but those two were very consistent.”
Senior Lauren Sheeley had nine kills and four blocks for the Vikings. Alena Hernandez, also a senior, had seven digs and senior captain Ashlyn Brown made 17 assists.