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Maplewood remains undefeated in win

LORDSTOWN — The Maplewood Rockets volleyball team has been together since the beginning.

“We’ve all played together since the seventh and eighth grade,” said senior Chloe Thompson. “We’ve worked really hard to get to where we’re at. We hope to continue this season as long as we can.”

Maplewood is a senior-laden squad with 9 of the 12 players on the roster in their final year of high school.

After a strong season last year, in which they finished 14-3 in the Northeastern Athletic Conference with all 3 losses coming against undefeated Badger, Maplewood has an undefeated season of their own in 2021.

The Rockets paid a visit to conference rival Lordstown on Monday night, and although the Devils made it competitive, Maplewood improved to 16-0 and 14-0 in the NAC with a 25-14, 25-21, 25-12 straight-set victory.

Christen Clemson, who is in her fifth year as head coach of Maplewood, couldn’t be happier for her team.

“It’s really like a dream come true,” Clemson said. “We played outside the conference against Ursuline and we beat them. We’re going to be a number three seed in the tournament. I want to see us continue to work together. I’m really looking forward to seeing what the girls can do in the playoffs.”

First, they had to get past Lordstown. The Red Devils took an early lead in every set thanks in part to the play of senior Paris Jones.

“Maplewood is a really good team,” Jones said. “It was fun playing against them. Thanks to all my teammates and coaches for a fun senior year.”

With the Rockets ahead 11-9 in the first set, senior Grace Crown helped them pull away with a block and a kill.

“I’m so proud of all of my teammates,” Crown said. “We are each other’s biggest fans. We have an amazing opportunity ahead of us. Especially, because it’s our senior year.”

Long volleys made for a back-and-forth second set. Maplewood was ahead by a narrow margin of 23-21.

“I’ve seen a lot of growth within our team,” Lordstown coach Destiny Prusky said. “We’re a young team. We only have three seniors. We know what to build upon for next year.”

Unfortunately, for Lordstown, this has been Maplewood’s year. The Rockets were able to close out the set behind a couple of kills from senior Hannah Thomas.

Junior Emma Harris smacks the ball with authority as she served up a third set lead for Maplewood.

Thomas is also a talented server. Her running-jump style connected on multiple aces, including one that landed just inside the back line as the Rockets finished the match.

“We’re all a family here,” Thomas said. “We’ve been together a long, long time. Thank God. We are so blessed to be able to have this season. We’re going to keep pushing as far as we can go.”

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