Colts Neck High School girls volleyball coach Glenn Jansen was impressed with the level of fight in Wall’s Crimson Knights.
“They were more aggressive while we were more reactive,” he said Wednesday after the Crimson Knights ended the Cougars’ winning streak at five with 25-19 and 25-17 victories in Shore Conference Class A North.
Wall (6-1, 3-1) pulled away late in both games for wins, dropping the Cougars to 5-3 overall, including 1-1 in Class A North.
“Their kids attacked us,” Jansen said. “Our kids were more conservative. We made 10 service errors. When you make 10 service errors, you need everything else to go right.”
“Our girls played hard and battled the whole day,” Wall coach Jared Musolf said. “We fought for every point. We got stronger as the first game went on. Our best points were the last couple of the first game.”
Wall displayed strength throughout its lineup.
Junior setter Taylor Mitchell handed out nine assists and served two aces. Sophomore outside hitter Jessica Stansfield added three kills, three digs and two aces. Senior middle hitter Anna Litowinsky contributed four kills and two blocks. Sophomore defensive specialist Colleen Brennan scrapped for four digs.
“We try to emphasize everyone picking each other up and creating a sense of team,” Musolf said. “I am very happy with all of our girls being able to pick each other up. The girls are finding their own style of play. We are a work in progress, but we’re improving each day, which is good.”
Wall closed the first game with a 6-1 run. Senior outside hitter Veronica Portelli capped the game with an ace. Portelli, senior middle hitter Kelly Miller and Mitchell are Wall’s captains.
“We have a very strong serving team,” the 5-foot-9 Portelli said. “Our passing was good. We have a great setter and great hitters. We’re pretty well rounded. We played hard. We were able to outhustle them. We did not let the ball drop. That’s key.”
The 5-foot-3 Mitchell said Wall played well at the net.
“We had pretty good hitting,” she said. “Our digs were pretty good. Jessica had some real good digs and some real good kills. Colts Neck missed their serve quite a bit and that helped us get points. We used their mistakes to our advantage.”
Wall celebrated the majority of its kills and aces.
“When we get either a kill or an ace, we go to the middle of the court, high five each other and give each other pats on the back,” Mitchell said. “We give each other positive feedback. Team chemistry is super important.”
The Crimson Knights closed the second game with a 12-5 avalanche.
“Against Freehold and Colts Neck, we closed with similar runs,” Musolf said. “We came back at the end and played our strongest volleyball.”
Senior setter Samantha Panicali led the Cougars with 10 assists, three kills and two aces. Senior outside hitter Kailee Bongiovi added five digs and four kills. Senior right side hitter Morgan Citron contributed three digs and three kills.
“Wall is an outstanding team and has been for some time,” Jansen said. “Coach Musolf gets them to focus for every game. We seem to not close out games against the better schools. We are a senior laden team, but we don’t seem to be able to beat the next level team right now.”
Staff writer Chris Christopher: firstname.lastname@example.org; 732 643-4249