Coach Jennifer Mullholand isn’t hiding the fact the 2013 season will be one of rebuilding for the St. Joseph Central Catholic volleyball program.
“When 15 of your 20 players are freshmen and sophomores you’re going to have that,” said the second-year Crimson Streaks coach. “But these girls are really starting to work well together and things are looking up. We’re just going to keep trying things until we get it right.”
Be Reardon — one of the five upperclassmen for SJCC — isn’t a bad piece to build around. The junior had five kills, 14 digs and was 18-for-20 serving, which included a 10-point run early in Game 3 to secure the Crimson Streaks’ 25-16, 25-22, 25-21 sweep of Gibsonburg in a non-league match played Tuesday night.
SJCC senior Haelie Egbert added six kills, senior Brigette Fulwider had 20 digs and senior Megan Mehalko had three aces.
The Golden Bears (1-1) rallied down 13-2 in Game 3 after Reardon’s service run, pulling within three points on three occasions, but never closer.
Emma Jones had 25 digs for Gibsonburg, which also got 14 digs from Lyndsey Perales and five kills from Marissa Alvarado.
SJCC (1-3) led as much as 20-10 in the second game and 17-10 in the first.
“They’re working on their team building right now, and the chemistry is coming,” Mullholand said. “We keep working on the offense and changing things up on defense to try and cover a little bit better on tips.”
Natalie Zyski (defensive specialist), Molly Swint (setter), Makenzie Reiter (hitter) and Ava Stepanic are all freshmen playing varsity this fall for the Crimson Streaks. Hanna Stepanic (setter), Karleigh Kirsch (hitter) and Katie Harrison (hitter) are all sophomores. Nine freshmen are playing on the junior varsity, along with three sophomores.
“The nice thing is we’ll keep improving as the season goes along, just because we are so young,” Mullholand said.
Gibsonburg isn’t much older. Four seniors — Elena Mancha, Alvarado, Danielle Fork and Shelbi Fisher — and three juniors — Sydney Perales, Nina Mancha and Lyndsey Perales — are part of the Golden Bears’ 12-man roster, but with the graduation of five players, experience is hard to find.
Sophomore Courtney Kolkemeyer had a couple nice blocks Tuesday and provides a big six-foot body at the net. Freshman Taylor Weickert is Gibsonburg’s main setter, but because of injury, sophomore Ashley Hasselbach filled the role against SJCC.
“They’ve (the Golden Bears’ young players) really stepped up and keep finding ways to show me how much they want to be playing varsity right now,” Brown said.
Brown liked the effort she saw out of her libero, Lyndsey Perales.
“She put forth so much effort tonight,” said Golden Bears coach Ashley Brown of the junior. “She took that hard fall, yet she fought through it, stayed in and played. I was really impressed by that.”
Gibsonburg plays at Lakota on Thursday, while SJCC hosts St. Mary Central Catholic Saturday at 10 a.m.