HILLSBOROUGH, NJ -- It’s been a bumpy ride for the Ridge girls volleyball team following the graduation of seven seniors last year and also working with a new coach, Ridge’s former freshman girls coach), Teresa Staats, for the 2019 season. Nevertheless, the Lady Red Devils ended high in the sky last Wednesday night, first by winning against top-seeded Hillsborough (21-6) in the Somerset County semifinals, then rolling over third-seed Bridgewater (11-12) for the Championship win.

This is the third consecutive year that Ridge has taken the Somerset County title.

In last Tuesday’s Round One, Ridge took out Mount Saint Mary (17-8) in three sets, 25-17, 21-25, 25-14. Ridge junior Kristen Hodges led with 12 kills, followed by junior Lauren Metzner with 11 and senior captain Jasmine Davy with seven. Senior captain Dana Collins put up 30 assists. Junior Anna Peacock managed 23 digs, followed by nine each by Collins and Metzner. Davy and Peacock led the team in aces with three apiece, followed by Metzner and senior Angela Pan, tied with two.

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In last Thursday’s semifinal at Hillsborough, Ridge was seeded last. The team took on first seed Hillsborough in the first match. In conference play, Hillsborough had defeated Ridge twice this season. The two Skyland Conference rivals battled in three epic sets, taking nearly two hours to play.

Set one was a point-for-point grueling showdown, resulting in a win for Hillsborough, 35-33.  The second set also was a nail-biter, with Ridge winning 26-24. Ridge found its groove in the third set, winning 25-16 and advancing to the final against third-seeded Bridgewater.

In the Hillsborough match, Ridge’s Hodges again led the team with 14 kills, followed by Davy with 12 and Metzner with 11.  Collins directed the offense with 40 assists. Peacock put up 23 digs, followed by Davy with 22, Metzner with 15, and Collins with 14.  Pan led in aces with six and Hodges with three blocks.

Ridge won the championship match against Bridgewater’s Panthers in two sets, 25-14, 25-19.  The team was 1-1 in Skyland Conference play this season.

Ridge’s Davy and Hodges led the team in kills with eight apiece, followed by Metzner with seven.  Collins completed 22 assists and led the team in aces with four. Peacock led the defense with 16 digs, followed by Collins and Hodges, tied with six.

“It was great for this group having this new group of seniors that really fought hard for this with us graduating so many starters last year,” Ridge head coach Teresa Staats said. “It was a whole different dynamic and a different team.”