To say the Garaway Lady Pirates volleyball team was hot Tuesday, Sept. 1 at Garaway High School would be a gross understatement.
In the stifling heat of the sweat box known as Garaway High School gymnasium, the Lady Pirates kicked off their season with a pretty impressive 25-13, 25-14, 2522 win over a good Strasburg squad.
Of course, in the sweltering heat of the gym, Strasburg was hot too, and head coach Debbie Swihart said the Lady Pirates wouldn’t like it any other way.
“We practice in this every day,” said Swihart of the muggy heat of the gym with no A/C. “I get comments from coaches all the time, when they come in here and they are used to practicing in air. They come in here and struggle a little bit with the heat. It is definitely a home court advantage for us.”
Garaway rolled merrily along through the heat in games one and two, proving that they could dominate play. But what had Swihart talking was her team’s comeback win in game three. Having fallen behind the Lady Tigers 13-8, Garaway got some big hitting from Alli Yoder and Allison Luneborg, some good serving from Luneborg and Ellen Stingel and some good all-around team play, turning the deficit into a three-game victory.
“We have had trouble closing people out in the past,” said Swihart. “I could see it happening when the third game got going, and I thought, ‘here we go again, we are going to have to go a fourth game.’ But the girls got things turned around and we were able to put them away, which was awesome.”
Cassidy Widder paced Garaway with eight assists, while Sierra Slentz aded six. Widder recorded five digs, while Abbey Detweiler led the way with eight. Amber Monigold added six, Stingel pitched in with five, Luneborg and Sierra Slentz added seven apiece and Yoder had five, in a true team effort on defense.
Luneborg recorded a whopping six aces and Yoder scored three, while leading the hit attack was Yoder with five, Luneborg and Detweiler each scored with four and Samantha Putt chipped in with three.
The inaugural game victory was something Swihart said should give her team confidence, something they will need with perennial powerhouse Tuscarawas Central Catholic on deck next.
“That was a big win for us. Strasburg is a very good team,” said Swihart. “They play aggressive, and they have it all, so I am very impressed with the way our girls came out and played tonight. I think they were just so sick of practicing they were extremely excited about finally getting out here and playing someone other than ourselves.”