Published in The Chagrin Valley Times
November 5, 2014
After graduating seven starters, four of whom now play in college, not very many outsiders expected the Kenston volleyball program to be back in the Division I regional tournament this season.
Defying the doubters, the Lady Bombers not only advanced, but they nearly pulled of an upset against state No. 14-ranked Brunswick in the round of 16 last week in Broadview Heights.
The Lady Blue Devils, however, came out on top during a four-game battle, 17-25, 25-18, 26-24, 25-21.
During that pivotal third frame – when a match is tied, 1-1, the game-three winner overwhelmingly goes on to victory – Brunswick sprinted out to a 10-3 advantage before Kenston responded with a 14-2 rally behind the kills and blocks of 6-foot senior middle hitter Jen Smith, who was named a third-team all-Ohioan earlier this week.
Kenston went on to take a 24-22 lead in that third game, but then the Lady Blue Devils racked off the final four points for the 26-24 win.
The fourth game was knotted at 12-12 before Brunswick took an 18-14 lead and went on to close out the match.
In the loss, Smith and 6-foot-4 junior Michala Jepson tallied 12 kills and eight blocks apiece, while junior Sydney Gorski had 10 kills, with a .588 hitting percentage, and nine blocks.
Senior Kayla Braun had three kills, two blocks, 11 digs and 31 serve receives, while senior libero Rachael Brezovec had 17 digs and 15 serve receives and junior libero Abby Singleton had 17 digs and 11 serve receives.
Junior setter Amanda Schaefer collected 39 assists and added 11 service points, four blocks and five digs to her game resume.
Kenston ended its campaign at 18-8, while Brunswick improved to 24-2 behind the 17 kills of junior Ally Badowski, who was named second-team all-Ohio this season.
The Lady Blue Devils went on to play state No. 1-ranked Toledo St. Ursula Academy (28-0) in the regional finals on Saturday and lost a three-game match, 25-16, 25-22, 25-16.