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Ridge tops Bloomfield

VIENNA — The Rams made quick work out of the Cardinals when on Wednesday when No. 8 Mineral Ridge and No. 25 Bloomfield tangled in a Division IV sectional volleyball match at Mathews High School.

Mineral Ridge (14-9) was victorious in straight sets 25-14, 25-19, 25-12.

“When we got our opportunities, and we passed the ball, we played well,” Mineral Ridge coach Ron Lesko said. “We’ve had a little bit of an up and down season. Sometimes, we look like we can go really far in the tournament. Other nights, it looks like it could end at any second.”

It looked like the match could go either way throughout the contest. After a dig from Carol Coblentz, Bloomfield got a little closer in the first set.

Kills by co-captains Hannah Warner and Kyla Shaffer helped the Cardinals cut the deficit to 11-10. However, Aliyah Whittaker served up a big lead as the Rams took the first set.

Bloomfield got out to an early lead at 4-1 in the second set, but the Rams eventually turned the set around.

“Our girls played really hard,” Bloomfield coach Kaitlyn Christlieb said. “They’ve been improving all year, and that’s all that I can ask of them. They played some of their best volleyball of the year tonight. They left it all on the court.”

Olivia Booth had an ace and six straight service points to put Ridge back on top. Hannah Loeb and Megan Gerberry closed out the second set with a couple of kills.

Bloomfield again jumped out to an early advantage at 4-0 in the third. The set turned in favor of the Rams after a Bloomfield volley hit the ceiling, which happens often in the cramped confines of the “shoebox” the nickname of Matthews gymnasium.

Gianna Wilson touched the ball over net for a score, but blocks from Shaffer and Madelyn Koon kept the Cardinals in it.

Booth smashed a couple of kills, and freshman Ava Hulett (game-high 13 kills) jumped up high to spike it to the back line as the Rams advanced.

“I think we played really well today,” Hulett said. “We struggled at times, but it was a good performance overall. It’s crazy how much I’ve grown, and become a part of the team during the course of the season.”

The Rams season continues against No. 3 seed Maplewood in the next round of the tournament on Saturday.

sports@tribtoday.com

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