Class 1A volleyball — St. Paul powers past the Vanguard and will face an early season test at home Wednesday versus Country Christian

A year after squeezing out a 3-2 victory in its road matchup against Veritas at Open Bible School, St. Paul kicked off the 2013 campaign by sweeping the Vanguard 3-0 Sept. 3 at Chehalem Valley Middle School.

The Bucks cruised to relatively easy 25-13 and 25-12 wins in the first two sets before Veritas (0-1, 0-1) cut down on its errors and pushed back against the visitors, dueling on many long rallies before falling 25-21 in the SETH GORDON - Senior Carolina Ruvalcaba reaches for a dig during St. Paul's 3-0 sweep of Veritas in the season opener for both teams Sept. 3 at Chehalem Valley Middle School. The Bucks also defeated Jewell at home on Monday to improve to 2-0 in Casco League play.

“I think we played well,” SPHS head coach Lesli Hiller said. “We had some ups and downs and have to work on our intelligence of the game, reading the hitters a little bit more, knowing where to set and that kind of things and blocks too. We had some really good touches on some blocks, but if we would have had a little different timing, we would’ve gotten the block.”

The match was an emotional one for senior middle blocker Delaney Sump, who used to attend Veritas and was pleased to open the season against her former school. She went 15-for-16 hitting with 10 kills to go along with three digs and one ace in the victory.

“We started communicating better than we have in the past, or at least in practice so far,” Sump said. “We started cleaning it up, especially in the second game, really brining our passes to target instead of just being all over the place.”

Sara Pierson, Alex Coleman and Emma Coleman contributed six, five and four kills, respectively, while setters Kennedy Smith and Remy Brentano also had strong outings, combining to hand out 20 assists. Sophomore Cameron Stone led the back line with six digs.

Veritas head coach Rachel Schippers said her team knows one of its major deficiencies is coming out slowly in the first two sets. The key to turning that around, she believes, will be developing a consistently focused approach on each and every point.

“You can’t sit back,” Schippers said. “You have to keep that passion and that competitive drive every single point.”

Brianna Stoppa led the Vanguard with four kills versus St. Paul, then helped lead Veritas to a 25-17, 25-11, 25-23 sweep with six kills at Crosshill Christian Monday night. Tess Johnson also played well, posting eight kills, five aces and five digs, as setter Natalie Anderson had the offense humming, racking up 23 assists.

“They played a more solid game and were able to start and finish strong,” Schippers said. “It was interesting going into the match since we had no prior experience with Crosshill, and I was impressed that the girls didn’t let that faze them and stayed in control.”

The Bucks’ home match versus Jewell Monday was cancelled following an injury to a Blue Jay player during warm ups and will be rescheduled. St. Paul will square off at home against Country Christian, which placed third in the league and qualified for state a year ago, at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.

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