SCOTCH PLAINS/FANWOOD, NJ -- Protecting home court is always important -- even more so when it is during the tournament season. The Raiders Varsity and JV were both up to the task in the opening round of the Union County girls volleyball tournament.
The varsity team entered ranked No. 4 with an 11-5 record and looked to start off strong against Dayton. With key serving from setter Kaelie Chueng and Adelina Berisha, the Raiders set the tone for the match, and ran their offense. A total group effort was employed for the win.
The offense was paced by Berisha with 8 kills, with Maddie Yessman adding 3, Anina and Che Dashiell producing 4 and 2 kills respectively, and Jessica Lancaster adding another. The defense was spearheaded by Dashiell’s
3 Blocks and Maura Leahy’s 6 digs. Berisha had 5 digs, and Lindsey Bartley and Tori Cirrilo contributed 4 and 2 digs.
“It’s important that with every single game we play, that our focus be on that team, and that team only.” said head coach Adrienne Stack. “We were the higher seed walking into tonight’s competition. However, without focus and precision, the scales could easily tip in the other team’s favor. We have worked through many illnesses and injuries this season, so it’s important that we capitalize on the strength we have as a full team right now.”
The main story was the strength in the Raiders' serving. Kalie Chueng, while producing 18 assists, helped the cause with 4 aces and 10 service points, and Berisha added 6 aces. With those strong performances from behind the serving line, the Raiders won 25-10 and 25-14.
“Working together and focusing on the role each one of them must play for the team to be successful is the key to advancing.” Stack added.
The varsity will face the No. 5 seed Kent Place at home in the quarterfinals on Thursday. The game will start at 4:00.p.m.
The JV team entered the tournament on the strength of a 13-3 record and the #2 seed overall. However, they would have to play this tournament without two key components that helped them to this record. Due to UCIAC tournament rules, players can only be on one roster -- varsity or JV -- for the entire tournament. They would have to play the No. 17 seed Roselle Catholic without these players.
Roselle Catholic was coming off a preliminary win over Hillside, while the JV Raiders entered the round fresh off
a regular season win against New Providence.
The JV Raiders did not start off as they wanted and dropped the first set 19-25. Not happy with the team under-perfoming, Coach Brock Hor had one simple statement: Earn your win.
“It was ugly the way we played, not indicative on what we were capable of. I told them, we had practiced a certain way of playing that got us to where we are, but if they chose not to play the way I know they can, they could easily be eliminated from this tournament," said Coach Hor.
" I have seen too often how a high seed in JV gets eliminated early by a lower seed," he added. "RC was ready to beat us; they can’t expect them to give us anything. We need to earn everything.”
The JV was led by the strong serving of Alyssa Glickstein, Jessica Steinberg, and Meghan Danielovich. Kyra Antonello took control of the offense with Catherine Grandmaison and Grace Rehrer providing the key passing. That set up the winner take all third set. Morgan Kinard provided some defensive blocks with Kaeline Cunningham serving the team to an early lead and setting the offense. Melania Acompora provided so needed smart play, that helped the JV Raiders win.
JV also advances to the UCIAC JV quarterfinals against either No. 7 Linden or No. 10 Union Catholic.
2019 Scotch Plains-Fanwood Girls Volleyball Varsity
- Abigail Balagot
- Lindsey Bartley
- Adelina Berisha
- Victoria Cirillo
- Kaelie Chung
- Anina Dashiell
- Che Dashiell
- Maura Leahy
- Jessica Lancaster
- Victoria Solsky
- Haley Warren
- Madelyn Yessman
2019 Scotch Plain-Fanwood Girls Volleyball JV
- Melania Acampora
- Kyra Antonello
- Rachel Barattucci
- Sofia Ciullo
- Devin Cooke
- Kaelin Cunningham
- Meghan Danielovich
- Olivia Fleischer
- Alyssa Glickstein
- Catherine Grandmaison
- Morgan Kinard
- Alexa Martorano
- Grace Rehrer
- Peri Roper
- Jessica Steinberg
Photos courtesy of Jessica Steinberg