Downriver League volleyball action resumed on Tuesday as Lincoln Park made the short drive down Champaign Road to Allen Park.
Lincoln Park Volleyball Photo Gallery at Allen Park
The two teams entered the contest already heading in opposite directions. Allen Park was looking to make it 2-0 in conference after starting with a 3-1 win over Gibraltar Carlson last Tuesday. Meanwhile, Lincoln Park was hoping to avoid a 0-3 start after being swept by Trenton and Dearborn Edsel Ford the previous week.
The two respective trends continued as host Jags, after a bit of a slow start at first, swept 3-0 (25-16, 25-4, 25-14) away from the visiting Railsplitters.
“I think that first set was a lot for us to just focus on pace,” Allen Park coach Brooke Tkach said. “As we went on we did a much better job of controlling and picking up our pace and focusing on ball placement, which was huge for us.”
Tkach called an early timeout after Lincoln Park scored the first three points in the first set. Allen Park eventually responded but still found himself trailing by four at 10-6.
A small four-point spark from the Jags tied things at 10-10, forcing Lincoln Park to call a timeout – and it seemingly turned the script around for the rest of the game. Allen Park then scored 10 of the next 12 points to retire and close the set.
The hosts turned the strong first set finish into a dominant second game highlighted by a strong service game. And then, similar to their late run in the first set, a 10-4 surge midway through game three propelled them to the double-digit win, earning the match sweep.
Tkach is in her first year as the Jags’ college coach. The 2017 Allen Park graduate took over from Chris Bozman, who retired as a college coach after more than a decade at the helm.
Bozman is still heavily involved with the program, serving as the junior varsity head coach.
Tkach not only relishes the opportunity to coach college, but is lucky and grateful to have his former coach and mentor around him.
“It meant everything to me,” Tkach said. “Having played under him and then coached alongside him, it all worked out. It’s having that extra set of experienced eyes, he focuses on my attackers and that allows me to focus on defending and setting.
“It was the most amazing experience and beyond helpful, it’s such a great mix for us.”
The service game was so strong for the Jags on Tuesday that they had the same number of aces (29) as they had eliminations.
Ten different Jags had at least one ace in the win with Bailey McCalister’s six aces leading the way. Sam Sizemore had five aces; Maddy MacDonald had four; Lily MacDonald and Katelyn Stetz each had three; Alana Hardin, Samantha Scherer and Jaden Pierce each had two; and Julia Scherer and Emma Ramey each had one.
Hardin beat Allen Park with 10 eliminations, one of seven players with at least one for the hosts. McCalister added six kills, Stetz and Samantha Scherer each have four; Sizemore had three; and Pierce and Julia Scherer each had one.
Tkach explained how important their success in Tuesday’s service game was to see, adding that serving-receiving is a strength for Woodhaven. She also talked about what will be the biggest key to eliminating the Warriors.
“The biggest impression (with Woodhaven) is the height,” Tkach said. “Allen Park has always lacked height and that hasn’t changed this year. The most important thing will again be solid serve and focus where we put the ball, using their height to our advantage.
Lincoln Park Olivia McKinney was unavailable for comment after the game. Treasure Ross led the Rails with three kills on the night. Katie Ferrell had two wins while Becky Benitez, Desteny Guzman, Jessica Locklear and Brianna Peters each had one.
Peters did a bit of everything for the visitors on Tuesday, adding three assists, one block and three digs. Locklear and Guzman each got an assist. Benitez had the other Railsplitter block. Allison Sharp led the team with seven digs; Benitez tied Peters with three while Locklear, Guzman and Sydney Cox each had two.
Allen Park is now heading for a big game on the road against reigning Downriver League champions Woodhaven. This match will take place on Thursday, September 22. The Jags will return to league action on Tuesday, September 27 with a game at Southgate Anderson.
Lincoln Park will return home on Thursday, September 22 to host Huron League powerhouse Carleton Airport in a non-conference game. The Rails will then return to DRL play on September 27 at Taylor High.