BERKELEY HEIGHTS — The focused foursome of seniors came through again in a big way for the Gov. Livingston girls’ volleyball team on Saturday.
Ashley Parker, Leah Dooley, Isabella An and Olivia Teska all contributed their customary stellar play to help send the Lady Highlanders to a 2-0 (25-21,25-19) victory over Summit on Senior Day.
Parker finished with three kills, one dig and one block, Dooley contributed four kills, three digs and three aces, Teska added three assists, six digs and three aces and An had six assists, five digs and an ace as Gov. Livingston improved to 7-1.
“They all played so well today,” said Gov. Livingston coach Dana Hilaire. “They always give us so much energy and their play was fantastic. Those four seniors are all important leaders in different ways. Isabella and Olivia are our two setters and they really run the offense. Leah and Ashley are our captains and starting outside hitters, and we rely on them to get points.”
Summit entered the contest with a 9-1 record, so Hilaire knew her squad would be in for a difficult test.
“Based on their record we knew that they were strong,” said the coach, who’s club downed Oak Knoll, 2-0, on April 7. “We had a bit of a slow start in that first set and we were trailing.”
The Lady Highlanders found themselves looking at a 3-6 deficit in that first set when Hilaire called a timeout to settle her charges down.
“We were a bit off,” the coach said. “Summit was blocking a lot and digging tons of balls, and we were able to get too many kills. We adjusted our offense, and it worked out in our favor. We turned the momentum our way, and then it was a little more smooth sailing for us.”
Gov. Livingston rallied and took that first set, 25-21, before prevailing 25-19 in the second set.
“It was a nice way to celebrate the day for our seniors,” Hilaire noted. “Now, we have our focus now set on the state tournament.
The fifth-seeded Lady Highlanders, 15-3 overall in sets this spring, will take to the road to play at fourth-seed Raritan on Thursday in the quarterfinal round of the NJSIAA Central, Group 2 tournament.
“We will do our homework and learn as much about Raritan as well as focusing on parts of our game we need to improve,” Hilaire said. “I think our last two games against Kent Place and Summit were good matches for us heading into the state tournament because they’re very good teams. Raritan should be a good match.
“I feel like we’ve been so focused this season. I think overall we are just grateful to be able to have a season and these players have worked so hard. We’ve had outstanding leadership and they all just come out to play hard every game. That goes a long way.”