SUMMIT, NJ — Abby Periera finished with 10 kills, Olivia Teska had 15 assists and five service points and Leah Dooley contributed seven kills, seven digs and eight service points, but it was not enough when seventh-seed Gov. Livingston girls’ volleyball team suffered a 2-1 setback against second-seed Kent Place on Tuesday in the quarterfinal round of the Union County Tournament.
The Lady Highlanders fell behind after dropping the first set 25-18 before rebounding in impressive fashion to take the second set 25-13 and tie the match. The decisive third set awaited.
“It was a great game,” said Gov. Livingston coach Dana Hilaire. “It was some good volleyball.”
The Lady Highlanders realized they were having trouble with the Kent Place strategy, but were able to make adjustments and take command in the ensuing set.
“We were forced to adjust after the first set to Kent Place,” Hilaire acknowledged. “Kent Place is an excellent team and we had not seen that type of competition yet this season. During practice on Monday we focused on having big blocks and playing smart offensively.
“After that first set we made some adjustments and did quite well in the second. We had to play a lot smarter and really pay attention to what was available to us. Girls rose to the occasion in the second set. We didn’t do that in the first set but we did in the second. Our goal was to pay attention to the blocks and think about the other options you have. We talked about playing smarter, not harder.”
The Lady Highlanders rebounded impressively and took the second set, 25-13. The decisive set was a hard-fought battle but Kent Place prevailed to improve to 8-2, while the loss was the first this season for Gov. Livingston (5-1).
“I told them after the match it was the best game I’ve seen them play this season,” Hilaire said. “Our players made adjustments to Kent Place’s blocks after that first set. We were really determined to adjust our game and that was really nice to see. I think our ability to make quick adjustments has been the most impressive aspect about our team this season.”
Isabella An had three digs, six assists, nine service points and two aces for Gov. Livingston while Ashley Parker five kills, eight digs and two service points and Carly Tullo contributed three digs and five service points.
The Lady Highlanders advanced after a first round 2-1 decision (22-25, 25-14, 25-19) over 10th-seed Elizabeth on April 1. An had three digs, 16 assists, 14 service points and five aces; Katie Brokes added six digs and nine service points; Isabella Garay had 10 assists; and Dooley added 13 kills, five digs, six service points and five aces in that victory.
Dooley, a senior, leads the club with 40 kills, while the sophomore Katie Brookes has a team-leading 37 digs. An, a senior, has a team-high 44 assists and 49 service points.
Gov. Livingston will play host to Summit on Saturday at 9:30 a.m. on its Senior Day.