Marietta High volleyball bests rival Warren

RON JOHNSTON The Marietta Times Marietta High’s Morgan Connolly, right, sets the ball as Warren’s Madison Foy looks on during a high school volleyball match Wednesday in Vincent.

VINCENT — Hannah Kroft and Natalie Brooks were a 1-2 smash hit at the net.

Marietta High’s dynamic duo combined for 29 kills and seven blocks as the Tigers downed Warren, 3-1, in prep volleyball action Wednesday night at Warrior Gym. MHS (5-1) won the opening set 25-20; lost the second, 16-25; and claimed the final two by the identical score of 25-16.

“This was one of the biggest games that we’ll probably ever play,” said Kroft, who finished with 15 kills, four blocks, and one dig for good measure. “It was so fun.

“I try to carry my team as much as I can. I work hard at every practice, and try my best. I play for everybody. My team’s my family.”

Brooks added 14 kills, three blocks, three aces, and seven digs, while hitters’ Sydney Wright and Betsy Wriston chipped in with seven and six kills, respectively.

“We have four hitters, and I hate to say that we had too much power, but we probably did tonight,” said MHS head coach Ron Kidder.

Tiger setter Morgan Connolly was credited with 38 assists and six digs, while freshman Maddy Muntz had 12 digs and three aces. Libero Carlie Hamilton chipped in with eight digs and Alexus Carpenter had seven.

“It’s nice to win out here,” Kidder said. “It was very hot, but I think our girls are in good shape, and that helped us tonight. Also, our seniors played well.”

Warren (2-2) was led by Abby Gilliand (8), Madison Foy (7), and Kaylee Ullman (7), who combined for 22 kills. Setter Victoria Lewis finished with 22 assists, four kills, and the team’s only service ace. Libero Diamond Decker had a match-high 23 digs.

“We have a good team, but tonight we needed to work more as a team, and not get so much in their heads — which I think happened,” said WHS boss Michelle Tyo.

All four sets were relatively close with neither school having a double-digit advantage. In the opener, Marietta led 22-20 before closing it out with a 3-0 run, capped by a monster hit by Kroft.

“You just try to double-block (Kroft and Brooks) as much as we can,” Tyo said. “And, at least, get a touch on their ball. I just tell my defense to just cover, cover, cover. and stay low.”

Warren came back and never trailed in the second game — and won it by nine points.

“It’s a rivalry, and you knew they (Warriors) were going to come back out and play hard,” Kidder said. “And, they did.”

Added Kroft, “We had like a little slowdown — but we came right back.”

Indeed, Marietta did. But the Tigers got off to a slow start in the third set and fell behind 4-0. With Connolly setting up the hitters, they rallied and and won by nine.

“Morgan Connolly runs our offense,” Kidder said. “She’s the quarterback of our team. Without her putting that ball where the hitters need it and making the decisions she does at the time..I mean, she’s top-notch.”

Marietta never trailed in the fourth and final set — and won that one also by nine points.

Marietta is scheduled to play its home opener against Coshocton in a scheduled 7 p.m. ECOL match tonight at Sutton Gymnasium.