Fenton — There was a time when coming to Fenton High School for a volleyball match created dread in the Holly varsity volleyball squad.
That’s not the case any more. After capturing a Metro League title a year ago, the Bronchos have become the hunted between the two rivals. The rivalry between the two foes continued Monday night in what was the first Metro League contest between the two rivals this season.
It was a battle in which both teams had their moments, but when the contest ended, the co-defending Metro League Stripes Division champion Holly Bronchos captured a four-set 25-19, 20-25, 25-15, 25-21 victory.
These are some of the first matches for both teams. Holly varsity volleyball coach Deena Maher thought maybe that was an advantage for her squad. The Bronchos returns a good portion of the athletes that made last year’s co-league title possible. Meanwhile, the Tigers are adjusting to life under their third head coach in as many seasons, Jenna Long.
“I was really confident in this team,” Maher said. “They’ve put in a lot of years playing together and (both teams) haven’t had a ton of experience in games this year, so I knew walking in we had to have at least that to our advantage — the girls have played together for so long, it was just a matter of coming together, finding our rhythm and we would be able to come away with a win tonight.
“Being in this gym used to be such a huge thing (in terms of
pressure) for Holly but it isn’t anymore. We come in here with confidence, confident who we are and what we can do. It’s just fun being here and competing.”
The match looked like an early-season battle for a good chunk of the night because there were plenty of errors. In fact, Holly lost the second set and could attribute that to eight service errors in that game. Both teams had plenty of hitting errors (23 for Holly and 20 for Fenton) as both teams work on getting their offenses in midseason form. And, of course, the Tigers are learning a new coach in the process as well. Long liked what she has seen so far out of her squad.
“They have heart,” Long said.
“They have grit. They showed up every day on the football field (for practices). We had a speed and agility guy that came out and worked on some things and we worked on our vertical. They don’t quit. They have heart.
“We practiced on the football field, on the tennis courts, on open grass and the sand courts at the Barn. They worked hard. There were some things we could’ve changed tonight but we faced a team that won the conference last year and they have four pretty big seniors. I thought we held our own.”
Both teams had moments in each set. Fenton jumped to an early lead in the first set, but a kill and back-to-back aces by Holly’s Sarah Jewell extended Holly’s lead to 11-7. From that point, the Bronchos never trailed in the first set eventually getting set point on a over-pass kill by Amanda Patterson.
Fenton never trailed in the second set, but the Bronchos remained close during most of it. Fenton moved to a quick 7-2 lead, but Holly cut the gap to 11-10 on a Paige Weeder kill. However, a Holly hitting error and a kill by Fenton’s Sydney Sahr helped raise the Fenton gap back to 13-10. Later, back-to-back kills by Korryn Smith and Adrie Staib helped raise the gap to 17-12 during a run of three Bella Henson service points. Fenton eventually earned set point on Holly’s eighth service error of the game.
If there was a decisive set in the contest, it was the third one. Holly jumped to a 7-1 lead and never trailed. However, Fenton did cut the gap to 9-7 on a block kill by Staib before the Bronchos were able to extend the margin again. Set point came on a Jewell kill.
The fourth set enjoyed many ties and lead changes. The last tie came when Holly had a hitting error resulting in a 20-20 tie. However, Jewell followed with a kill and Fenton had a hitting error on the next service, earning the Bronchos a 22-20 lead. Fenton called a time out, and Holly followed with a service error, but then Fenton had one of their own. A stuff block by Kennedy Hogan gave Holly a 24-21 lead and a Fenton hitting error earned the Bronchos match point.
Weeder led Holly’s offense with 15 kills while Jewell had nine kills. Marissa Walker chipped in six kills. Jewell also had for aces. Holly had 42 kills.
Fenton had 27 kills with Sahr leading the way with nine. She also had two block kills as did Smith and Staib. Staib hipped in six kills.