GLEN CARBON – The Metro East Lutheran Knights turned in a strong serving performance in their two-game victory over the Father McGivney Griffins on Tuesday at Father McGivney High School.
The Knights finished with 17 service aces as they beat the Griffins 25-16, 25-18 to improve to 2-5. Father McGivney dropped to 2-5 with the loss.
“It was great to get 17 aces,” MELHS coach Jon Giordano said. “Quite frankly, it bailed us out when our passing wasn’t what it should have been, especially in the first game.”
MELHS was coming off a 1-4 showing in a tournament at Springfield Lutheran last weekend. Two of the five matches went three games.
“We had a long weekend tournament where we had some long matches and a lot of exhaustion,” Giordano said. “We persevered tonight. This was fantastic for us. We have a wonderful crowd and a wonderful environment. It gives them a home court advantage. They were playing fantastic and had us on our heels most of the match.”
Father McGivney coach Amanda Pirih said her team struggled with passing in the first game.
“We just needed some passing off of the net and we were a little bit off on the serve,” she said. “With that, we didn’t have the opportunity to set off an offensive attack.”
In the second game, Father McGivney’s Zend Pendall served three straight points to give her team a 3-0 lead.
The Griffins led 6-2 when MELHS' Courtney Fenelon recorded a kill to cut the lead to 6-3. Then, MELHS setter Lydia Flaherty served five straight points to give her team an 8-6 lead it would not relinquish.
Ashley Robinson's kill gave the Knights a 21-17 lead, then she served two straight points to increase her team's lead to 23-17.
Flaherty served an ace on match point to give the Knights the win.
“I think we played really well tonight,” Flaherty said. “With the scrappy plays, we came together.”
Flaherty said she was pleased with her team's serving effort.
“It was awesome. I don’t think we’ve ever had that many aces in a game, ever,” the MELHS senior said. “I think we really took advantage of our serving.”
Pirih was also impressed with the Knights' serving.
“They got in a good serving run and we just weren’t making the connection with the passes up to the target,” Pirih said. “So, when that happens, we just kind of lost a little bit there.”
Giordano said his team's size was another big factor in the win.
“It’s one of the rare times when we’re consistently taller than other teams,” the MELHS coach said. “We enjoyed that a bit and it helped us down the stretch.”
The Knights came back from a 10-5 deficit to win the first game.
MELHS will return to action on Sept. 6 with a home contest against Nokomis. Father McGivney's next match will be on Sept. 6 at home against Christ Our Savior Lutheran.