Published in The News-Herald
October 13, 2021
Kenston and Chardon had been atop the Western Reserve Conference standings the entire season, and when the two met on Oct. 12, the stakes couldn’t have been higher. With a win, Kenston would lock up its WRC title since 2015, while if the Hilltoppers were victorious, they would have kept a chance to split the title alive.
The Bombers started the match fast, as they took the first two sets. But Chardon swung momentum in its favor and took the third set to stay alive. After the Hilltoppers took the fourth set as well, it came down to the fifth and final set.
“The message was simple before the final set, that we knew we had to win,” said Kenston’s Julia Sell. “We really wanted this game on our senior night. Last time we played Chardon, we beat them in three. After we won the first two, they had their comeback. So we knew we were going to be in for a fight until the end.”
Chardon took four of the first five points, but the Bombers rallied to tie it up and surged ahead. And when Riley Rosneck had her kill attempt hit the court, the celebration was on for Kenston.
“It was exciting, and every time I can get a kill I want to slam it down,” said Rosneck. “You have to want that feeling and that challenge of being able to get the ball down and get the point for your team.”
After the first two sets, Chardon needed to make some adjustments if it wanted to stay in the game. Coach Ali Fisher knew this and the Hilltoppers came into the third set aggressive in both the serve and receive portions of their attack.
“We were really able to mentally reset,” said Fisher. “We were playing a little scared in the first two sets. We settled into our rotation and knew that that was going to be our chance. We had our backs against the wall so we had to come out fighting. They really started to lean on each other and put each other in the best positions while they were out there.”
It took some time for Kenston to make the needed adjustments, but the Bombers eventually found their stride in the receiving game come the fifth set. Kenston had a four-point run during which their receiving played a crucial role. Maria Insana knew that run was going to get Kenston the win.
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