By Seth Kinker, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Manchester Lady Dutch volleyball team continued their postseason run last week in dominating fashion. They swept all three opponents en route to the Class C District Title on Thursday, Nov. 2.
In the opening round of district play, the Lady Dutch hosted the Sand Creek Aggies and won 3-0 (25-15, 25-8, 25-10). Then the Lady Dutch traveled to take on Pittsford, who had defeated Hudson on Monday, in a semi-final with the winner advancing to the final to play Clinton on Nov. 2. Manchester defeated Pittsford in consecutive sets (25-9, 25-17, 25-15).
After losing last year in the District Finals to Madison, 3-0, the Lady Dutch flipped the script this year. They defeated Clinton 3-0 (25-10, 25-21, 25-14) for the Class C District Title.
In the opening set Manchester set the tone for the night, jumping out to a 9-2 lead before forcing a Clinton timeout. Following the timeout, the Lady Dutch rattled off 10 straight points to take a commanding lead on the way to the first set victory.
Bucking their normal season trend of letting opponents back into the game before finishing them off, the Lady Dutch came out with a high level of energy early in the Finals. Manchester head coach Trisca Beasley noticed the difference too.
“The girls have been talking about that all week because Monday, when we played at home against Sand Creek the energy, was way low, like we lost even though we won,” said Beasley. “So as a team they were deciding they were going be loud and excited to be there. We are winning. It was a mindset, that they decided ‘this is what we’re gonna do’ and so they brought the energy, it was good to see.”
Junior Jayden Humphrey (17) and sophomore Kayla Engel (13) led the team in kills. Junior Avery Collins and sophomore Natalie Bargardi both added two blocks. Junior Stephanie Messman (21) and freshman Kayla Ridenour (13) led the team in assists. Engel (20), senior libero Lauren Sprau (11), and Humphrey (9) led the team in digs.
With the Lady Dutch wrapping up the 3-0 victory, the team has finally started to gel on all levels, rotating quicker defensively and finding the ability to grind out wins. Beasley acknowledged the elevated level of play and said it came down to wanting to keep playing.
“I think it’s the girls deciding it doesn’t matter what’s going on off the court, it matters what’s going on, on it,” said Beasley. “We’ve decided that we want to continue on, we don’t want our season to end so that has made the difference. It’s the right time for us to come together.”
Manchester will play the #2 ranked Monroe St. Mary’s Catholic Central on Tuesday Nov. 7 in the opening round of Regional play.