By Murray Gleffe
GREEN BAY- The Green Bay East Red Devils girls’ volleyball team swept the West De Pere Phantoms in straight sets (25-23, 25-21, 25-16) behind an energized crowd at East High School (Sept. 6).
In the opening set, the Phantoms took an early 4-1 lead after Emilie Everard connected on an ace and two East kill mishaps.
Five lead changes later, the Phantoms retook the lead at 11-10 after the Red Devils missed a set up close.
West De Pere appeared to be in good shape after Alivia Baumann had an ace and Brooke Bemowski kill that put the Phantoms up 16-12.
However, the Red Devils fought back and won eight of the next eleven points to put them in front 20-19.
West De Pere then seized back control of the opener 23-21 only to have the Red Devils rally and win the final four points to take the opening set.
“We are still making adjustments with our team,” said Nicole Stegall, West De Pere volleyball coach. “We brought up a junior varsity player this evening because of an injury. Our passing to set up the kill has to improve. I thought Emilie won us some key points, but we had too many breakdowns where they went on big runs.”
In set number two, the Phantoms jumped out to a lead of 4-2 only to see Green Bay East make a push to grab the lead back at 9-6.
The Phantoms used the blocking skills of Everard and Baumann and the serving of Mya Zielinski to get back into set number two. West De Pere rattled off six consecutive points to go up 15-10 and once again found themselves in a great position to even the match up.
However, the Red Devils had other ideas.
Behind the consistent digging of Rachel Malooly and offensive errors by the Phantoms the Red Devils took a 21-18 lead and finished it out with an ace by Autumn Thao to win set number two by four points.
With their backs to the wall, the Phantoms knew they would have to win the final three sets of the evening if they were to win the match on the road.
Cambria Budinger fired two aces to start the third set, but the Red Devils rattled off eight straight points and the Phantoms never recovered to fall to 0-1 in the Bay Conference.
“It’s one game in the conference, and we’re going to battle back,” said Stegall. “We are still meshing the girls together on court and it is just another stepping stone to the beginning, middle and end of the conference season.”