Assumption sweeps Sacred Heart in battle of state’s best

Assumption sweeps Sacred Heart in battle of state’s best

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Assumption sweeps Sacred Heart in battle of state’s best

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Assumption's volleyball team reacts to its win over Sacred Heart in straight sets, 25-23, 25-19, 25-19. 31 August 2016

Assumption’s volleyball team reacts to its win over Sacred Heart in straight sets, 25-23, 25-19, 25-19.
31 August 2016

In a battle between two of the state’s high school volleyball heavyweights, it was Assumption that delivered a decisive knockout win Wednesday night.

The top-ranked Rockets rolled over archrival and second-ranked Sacred Heart at home 25-23, 25-19, 25-19.

“I was really impressed with our composure tonight,” Assumption coach Ron Kordes said. “Even when Sacred Heart started a little run on us, we held it off pretty well and just stayed cool. It’s what we preach, but it’s easier said than done.”

GALLERY | Assumption-Sacred Heart Volleyball

The Rockets (5-1), the reigning state champs and winners of five of the past six titles, rallied to take the first set, then won the final two comfortably to complete a sweep of the Valkyries (3-1). Assumption also swept Sacred Heart in last year’s Seventh Region final on the way to its 19th state title.

“The key was staying calm and keeping our composure,” said senior libero Alexis Hamilton, who recorded 13 digs for the Rockets.

The first set featured 15 ties, the last time at 23-all, before Assumption tallied the final two points on errors by the Valkyries.

In the second set, Sacred Heart took a quick 5-1 lead behind a pair of kills from senior All-American outside hitter Paige Hammons before the Rockets rallied.

Trailing 9-5, Assumption ran off eight straight points to take control as mistakes started to mount for Sacred Heart.

“I think we got’em a little frustrated,” Kordes said. “We dug Paige a few times and did a pretty nice job blocking. That’ll frustrate any hitter, no matter who they are and how good they are.

“I was just really, really impressed with how calm they stayed back there. They were just sliding under balls, popping them up, just keeping balls alive, that’s what we talked about.”

The Rockets ran several blockers at Hammons – a Florida commit who was recently named to the USA Today All-USA volleyball team – in an effort to slow her down.

“We knew that she’s their main hitter. We were focusing on her mainly,” Assumption senior outside hitter Jacqueline Askin said.

In the third set, the Rockets built an eight-point lead, the last time at 22-14, before the Valkyries closed to within 24-19. Assumption ended the match moments later, though, on Askin’s 12th kill.

“I feel like we really played as a team tonight and we really just had fun. We weren’t tense, we were all smiling,” she said.

Senior outside hitter Brooke Moore added 13 kills and 19 digs for the Rockets, who likely will see Sacred Heart several more times this season.

“That’s the first of many. We’ll enjoy it, but we won’t take it too deep,” Kordes said. “We got’em tonight, we got them in this crazy gym, but they’ll be back. They’re too good, I’ve watched them play. It’ll be a war next time.”

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