After a back-and-forth final game, St. Mark’s Abbie Mirabella earned her 20th kill of the match as the No. 2-ranked Spartans secured the 3-0 victory over No. 3 Charter on Tuesday night.
The game scores were 25-22, 25-19 and 25-19.
“I always get excited after I get a kill. It’s just such a rush for me,” said Mirabella, a senior captain. “I wanted to do it for my team, and I’m really happy I could do it for them.”
The Spartans (6-1) ended the Force’s run in the second round of the playoffs last season so there was no doubt that Charter (7-1) would come out motivated.
Charter’s Jordan Schoeneberger opened the first game with two blocks to help the Force take the early lead.
St. Mark’s trailed until Lauren Sorantino served an ace on the line to lift the Spartans 15-14. Charter quickly responded, winning five straight points on Olivia DiMaio’s serve. However, Mirabella closed out the first game with one of her three aces of the match.
“I felt like we were relieved after the first game,” Mirabella said. “The pressure was kind of off. We were just all having fun, and we kind of just gelled together.”
St. Mark’s didn’t allow the second game to get too close as the Spartans held a comfortable edge throughout. Charter got within five after Schoeneberger drilled one of her eight kills to answer a strong kill by St. Mark’s Kennedy Staudt’s but the Spartans were able to hang on.
“They were very excited for that second set,” said Spartans’ coach Nancy Griskowitz. “When they’re excited and have fun, they play well. I think the team really put it together tonight, and I was really proud of them.”
The final game was knotted 15 times. St. Mark’s Addison Reich tied the game at 19 when she earned one of her eight kills past the Charter defenders. From that point on, Peyton Reno served out the match, and Mirabella chipped in her final four kills.
The Spartans’ Claudia Seemans contributed 36 assists. Reno also helped with eight kills and three aces.
Kelsey Mayhew had 23 assists for Charter.
“We played hard, but we didn’t play well at points,” said Force coach Dave Stover. “[St. Mark’s] doesn’t make a lot of silly mistakes. When they’re serving, you got to be able to put the ball down.”