GUYS MILLS — Maplewood faced an interesting test early in the season as 2018 PIAA Class 3A state runner-up Warren traveled south to the Wood Shed on Thursday. Turns out the Tigers were up to the challenge.
Maplewood showcased its strengths in a convincing non-region home win over the Dragons at Maplewood High School to come away with an impressive 25-18, 25-22, 25-13 sweep.
“I was really pleased. I really saw a lot of improvement from Tuesday night,” said Maplewood head coach Sheila Bancroft.
Maplewood was clicking in all facets of the game: digging, passing, serving, setting and hitting. Everything was a strength for the Tigers.
“The things we’ve been working on in practice — getting some more hands on the ball at the net, getting some blocks up there, fixing our defense a little bit,” added Bancroft. “It all worked.”
The Tigers started out well with an 8-4 run sparked by a couple kills from Kaysea Thomas.
Warren worked its way back to 9-9, but Maplewood responded with a 9-3 run. Sadie Thomas slammed a back row kill and Maggie Thomas found the corner with a kill in the run.
The lead was held the rest of the way and Kirsten Motter closed out the first game by slamming a hit through the Warren block.
Maplewood started quick again. Sadie Thomas had two strong serves that Warren couldn’t connect on. Maggie Thomas added an ace and Maplewood was up 10-5.
This time, the Dragons clawed back into the picture and took a 16-14 lead. Maplewood committed seven errors in the rally.
However, the Tigers responed well with a 6-0 run of their own. Maggie Thomas imposed her will at the net with two straight blocks resulting in Maplewood points. Sadie Thomas closed the set out with a slam that once again snuck past Warren’s block.
Despite some unforced errors, Maplewood held on and took a 2-0 lead.
It’s far from where it needs to be, but I saw improvement and it was awesome,” said Bancroft.
Defense was on full display for Maplewood in the third set. A diving save from Kaysea Thomas led to a Warren miscommunication and a point for ‘Wood.
Two points later, Chloe Leech had a diving save and Bailey Varndell slammed it home for the point. Maplewood quickly was up 9-2.
“They wanted to take care of it in three, they didn’t want it to go any further,” said Bancroft.
Maplewood never looked back and cruised to a 25-13 set win and 3-0 match victory.
They were having fun tonight,” said Bancroft. “You played a good team. (The Dragons) were swinging hard at the ball against us. They made us play and I thought really we stepped up.”
The offense was divided up among the Tigers. Kaysea Thomas led the way with nine kills. Maggie Thomas added seven. Chloe Leech and Sadie Thomas each had five. Sadie also tallied six aces.
Bailey Varndell contributed 27 assists and four kills.
Bailey was connecting offensively,” said Bancroft.
Madelyn Woge added nine digs from the libero spot.
“Maddy Woge, I thought did a great job in the back row defensively and passing for us,” added Bancroft.
Maplewood improves to 2-0. Warren drops to 0-2.
Jordan Hansgen can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at email@example.com.