It might have been playing three matches in four days or the adjustment to really getting back into the normal school routine.
Whatever the case, Homer Central girls were not as sharp as head coach Jeremy Cook would have liked, but the Trojans got the job done with a 25-13, 25-21, 25-17 OHSL Liberty Division volleyball victory over Syracuse Tech Central Thursday in the Homer High School gymnasium.
Homer completes a 3-0 week on its home court to improve to 2-1 in the Liberty American Division standings and 5-1 overall. The Tech Eagles slip to 0-2 in Liberty National and 0-4 overall.
“We had the goal of being 3-0 this week,” Cook said. “We have some teams we thought we could be well against. I haven’t been super pleased with how we played against Mexico (Tuesday) or tonight. We just haven’t been doing some of the little things that we know we can do well. We have some real tough matches next week and we know if we play like this we won’t be pleased with the results.
“I think it is hard with it being the first full week of school for the kids. It might be hard getting into that routine. We have been playing games and practicing for a while, but it’s totally different when you do have to go to school every day. the homework starts piling up and things like that. We still have to prepare and execute a little better.”
Both Homer captains Caley Cornwell and Deede Partigianoni knew it was not the best performance, but the team found a way to win.
“It was big to win all three matches this week,” Partigianoni said. “It is a good start knowing we have three games again next week. We all got a little tired from the week, but we all came through and that’s all we can ask for.”
“It wasn’t the way we wanted to win, but a win is a win,” Cornwell said.
Cook also knows it helps having a couple of senior captains like Cornwell and Partigianoni to help guide the team.
“They have been around a while now and they know what to expect,” Cook said. “We kind of go as they go. When they struggle at times, we struggle at times. It’s nice to have people around who know what is going on. They have played in some big matches and that is going to help us.”
“My leaders led the way for me when I was younger,” Partigianoni said. “It feels good to be able to lead the way for my younger teammates now. It’s nice to be a captain and to show them how to be a leader and what to do.”
“This 5-1 record is our best start,” Cornwell added. “We do have a lot of team work. We like each other and we are one big, giant, happy family.”
Homer would lead all the way in the first set, starting at 3-0 and building a little cushion. Maya Stoddard came around to serve a second time with the Trojans up 19-13 and helped her team close out the first set. Rachel Barrow had a couple of nice hits, followed by two aces from Stoddard to push the lead to 23-13. Homer took the final two points as well.
The Trojan started slowly in the second set while taking a 9-5 lead before Tech made a bit of a run because of some mis-hits and sluggish play. The Eagles tied the set at 11-11 and took a 16-12 lead before Homer slowly battled back. Allyson Natale served up an ace for the Trojans to tie things at 19-19, but it wasn’t until she delivered a kill with Stoddard serving to put Homer up for good at 21-20. A deep hit to the baseline by Natale pushed the Trojans to set point at 24-21 and Partigianoni served up the winning point.
Cornwell delivered some solid serves in the third set to help Homer go from a 4-1 lead to an 8-1 advantage with the help of an ace. The Trojans would continue to control the final set and Karly Roos served up an ace to end the set and the match.
Partigianoni finished with seven kills, four digs and two aces while Cornwell added four aces, four kills, two blocks and two digs. Katie Lawrence handed out 10 assists; Natale had five aces, three kills and three digs; Stoddard provided six digs and four aces; Roos eight digs and two aces with Kendra Anderson and Barrow contributing four and three kills respectively.
“Karly has been a rock on defense for us,” Cook said. “She seems to find herself in the right place. Maya and Reagan O’Donnell have come in and served nicely for us.
“Rachel and Molly (Grassie) did a nice job tonight, but we are still trying to fill that middle spot,” he continued. “We are waiting for one of them to really step up and take over.”
Jazmine Holloman led Tech Central with four digs and three assists. Alam Chol added three kills and three blocks with Janiea Moore having three digs and two aces. Alyssa Mann (two kills) and Jay’la Mitchell each had two digs.
Homer will host Hamilton in a non-league match Monday before heading to Phoenix Tuesday and hosting Westhill Thursday in Liberty Division matches.
The Homer JVs improved to 5-1 on the season with a 25-13, 25-9, 25-16 win over Syracuse Tech.
Kaia Hubbard set the pace for Homer with seven aces and three kills. Delaney Hartnett added five assist and three kills while Katlyn Sovocool provided seven assists. Annika Roos chipped in with three kills and three aces as Meagan Tyler delivered six aces.