SCOTCH PLAINS It’s hard to ignore six-foot-one Julia Hayes of the Union Catholic girls volleyball team, and Scotch Plains-Fanwood found out the hard way that it’s even more difficult to contain her.
With four kills and three aces, Hayes and Union Catholic (3-1) managed a victory on the road in straight sets, 25-16, 25-13, over Union County Conference rival Scotch Plains-Fanwood on Thursday.
“We’re not only tall, but we’re also very athletic, which definitely gave us an advantage,” Hayes, a Vikings captain, said. “I told my team that we just have to go out and play the way we know how to play because we have so much talent on our team that we’re really unstoppable. We’re a really well-rounded team, and playing together the way we did is what got us the win.”
While the Vikings led for a large portion of the match, the Raiders (2-2) went on a few good runs, one of which came early in the second set. They managed a seven-point rally before Union Catholic took a timeout. Following the breather the Vikings seemed to regain composure, as they earned point after point to tie the score.
“All the passes are fine, that was all hitting errors that Scotch Plains scored; it was all on us,” Union Catholic head coach Nancy Saggio said to her team during the stoppage. “So, I told them to settle down and continue to pass well and we planned to go to Julia (Hayes) and it worked for us.”
Her pep talk did the trick and the Vikings outscored the Raiders 22-6 when play resumed.
“I think we minimized the service errors in the second game and I think we’re probably a little more quick on offense, so once we started to up the tempo we were able to take it in two,” Saggio said. “I think height played something in it because we are taller. My tall outside opposite hitter, Tyler Scott, is very athletic. She jumps through the roof so that definitely helps when we need a block.”
Scotch Plains-Fanwood head coach Adrienne Stack felt that her girls lacked the determination it takes to come away with the win.
“I think my girls got frazzled and they didn’t trust their abilities to play,” Stack said. “Last night we played a great match with confidence and with the belief that the person next to them could do their job and today we just didn’t have that. It’s not a matter of talent, it’s a matter of believing you can do the job. I think size matters to a degree because I think it becomes an element of the mental game, but I don’t think it’s a matter of physical ability because we played very well going into the second set.
“In the end when you can’t sustain the momentum, you can’t win.”
Staff Writer Alyssa Davis: firstname.lastname@example.org