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Sunday, September 16, 2018

HILLTOPPERS FACE 3 SET LOSSES ON BOTH LEVELS AGAINST RAIDERS

Summit lost both matches on JV and Varsity levels in 3 sets against the Scotch Plains-Fanwood Raiders on Friday despite great efforts by both squads.  On Varsity, Summit and SPF deadlocked on total points for the match with 70 and the match was decided on the narrowest of margins in set 3. JV struggled in set 1 to contain SPF's serve receive game but found the key in set 2 to tie up the match.  Unfortunately, set 3 saw the Hilltopper serving game falter and that was the difference in the set 3 loss.

Summit had only beaten SPF once in the last 5 matches with the sole win coming last season at SHS.  Summit sought to repeat that feat on Friday but fell just a bit short of accomplishing that goal.
Set 1 began really well for the visitors as SPF got out to a fast start from the service line and had a 12-5 lead before long after an ace through Ava Williamson.  SHS cut the lead down to 4 after a service error by SPF but then 3 consecutive Summit errors and a Raider ace saw the lead go up by 8 again at 18-10.

But in a portend of things to come, SHS proceeded to go on a 10-5 run after the Raiders opened the door with 2 service errors in a row.  Carmel Barsh did not miss the opportunity and hit for a thunderous kill to zone 1 and followed it up with 2 consecutive aces to close the gap to 15-21. Two more SPF errors and a Gabbie Giudetti ace later had the Maroon and White to within 3 and 18-21 but a kill out of the middle by the Raiders stymied the run.  Georgia Inggs nailed an attack out of the middle that had SHS back to within 3 at 21-24 but the Raiders closed it out with a kill to take set 1 25-21.

SHS continued its consistent serving with 20/23 serves in and tallying 5 aces led by Kiera Stocks and Barsh who scored 2 apiece.  Unfortunately, the offense sputtered and managed only 5 kills (2 by Barsh) which was the difference in the set.

Set 2 began rather differently as the squads traded points early and found themselves tied at 6 as each squad could not get on a run to separate the teams.  Annabella Yorio then began a 6-0 Hilltopper run with 2 kills out of the left side and the entire Summit offense kept presuring the Raider defense with attack after attack forcing SPF into multiple hitting errors.  Kiera Stocks added an ace to the cause and within 5 minutes SHS had taken control of the set at 12-6.

Despite the Raiders' best efforts,  Summit defended its lead and expanded it to an 20-12 lead after a Barsh kill before the Blue and White could find hope in the set.  SHS was outscored 7-5 the rest of the set but it did not diminish the 25-19 set victory by the squad.

Summit hit for only 2 aces and lost 7 points off service errors but mitigated that damage with a nearly perfect offensive performance, nailing 10 kills to only 1 error in the set.  Summit had a kill % of 52% and an efficiency of .474 led by Yorio who had 6 kills on 8 swings with no errors for a 75% kill % and .750 efficiency.  The SHS serve receive was flawless, yielding 0 aces in the set, another major key for the Summit set win.

In the decisive third set, SPF got out to a fantastic start and held a 6-2 lead after a kill to the right side through Captain Lauren Trindell.  But Summit kept trying to find their game and started to chip away at the lead, getting the score to within 1 at 9-10 after an Ava Williamson ace.  The Raiders fought back and ballooned the lead back up to 5 at 9-14 after Trindell was forced into the net by a bad Hilltopper pass. This lead they maintained until the latter stages of the match but at 15-21, Katie Macpherson pushed a ball to zone 1 for a key kill that got the Maroon and White to within 5 at 16-21 and gave them a chance for a comeback.

But that hope was dashed a few points later as the Raiders benefitted from a Summit hitting error and serving error to get to within 2 points of the set and match at 23-18.  SHS did not give in however and crawled to within 4 with an Annabella Yorio kill out of the left side (19-23).  A SPF hitting error and a Carmel Barsh kill later, Summit started to believe in miracles as the team was within 2 at 21-23.  The Raiders called a timeout but to no avail.  Williamson came off the timeout and promptly nailed 2 aces to throw the crowd into a frenzy as the Hilltoppers had knotted the score at 23.  A block by the Raiders stopped the momentum but on the subsequent rally, Tessa Pulgar put up a perfect 3-pass to Trindell who tried to find Barsh for the kill.  SPF dug the ball but managed only a free ball that Yorio tried to put away.  Again, the Blue and White defended it but could not convert and the resulting hitting error gave the ball back to SHS tied at 24.  Unfortunately that's where the miracle ended as Summit was called on an unfortunate net violation that cost them a point and then saw the SPF outside put down a kill to seal the set and match 24-26.

Despite 5 serving errors,  Summit hit for 6 aces (4 late in the set) to keep their hopes alive in set 3.  Williamson led the squad in the set with 5 service points and 3 aces to pace the serving offense.  The outside tandem of Yorio and Macpherson combined for 5 of the team's 8 kills and suffered only 1 error.  Kiera Stocks and Williamson were a perfect 13/13 in receptions, allowing 0 aces and passing at a combined 2.21.  Williamson also led the squad with 6 digs. 

For the match, Summit averaged 4.33 aces per set, 1 block per set, 7.67 kills per set, and just over 10 digs per set.  Here are comparative stats:

SHS                MATCH               SPF
70                      Score                  70
23                      Kills                    25
13                      Aces                    8
3                        Blocks                 0
39                      EARNED           33


The squad in currently ranked in the top 10 of the Union County Conference for the first time in 7 years.  Summit will look to even its record at Wardlaw-Hartridge on Thursday and get a key divisional win versus Cranford on Friday at home (start time 4pm).

JV FALLS SHORT AGAINST SPF DESPITE GREAT 2ND SET

JV knew it was in for a long match right out of the gate against the Raiders.  Despite serving tough, the Hilltoppers were finding out that SPF could contain their normally potent serving game.  The question became whether the team could contain the Blue and White's own servers and by the sixth rotation, the answer was apparently not.  The scoreboard read 17-13 SPF and the lead was insurmountable as SHS could only get on a run behind Gabbie Guidetti's serving which brought the team back from a 14-6 deficit to a 14-13 score.  The celebration was short-lived as the Raiders responded with an 11-2 run to close the set 25-15 behind the serving pressure they brought to each rotation.

Set 2 was quite different as the Hilltopper serve receive, combined with SPF serving errors, had the Maroon and White 13-12 up with 6 rotations completed.  The serving game had also began to wear down the Raider defense and SHS was beginning to get easy offensive opportunities as a result.  The difference in the set really was the Hilltopper serve reception game as they stymied the Raiders' best server, limiting her to 0 service points the second time around the rotation which allowed the Hilltoppers to keep pressure on the Blue and White themselves and close out the set on a 10-4 run to win 25-19.

The deciding 15 point set saw SHS miss 3 of the first 7 serves which spelled disaster as the SPF side jumped out to an 11-7 lead in the first 6 rotations.  Summit got no closer than 8-11 as the serving power of Scotch Plains was on display in the last service rotation, hitting for 1 ace in the last 3 service points and forcing errant passes in the other 2 that did not allow the effective Summit offense to get involved.  Summit fell 8-15 and saw their record drop to 3W-2L.

Gabbie Guidetti and Cassandra Hrehorovich led the Hilltoppers from the service line with 4 and 3 aces respectively.  Sarah Brennan dug up a team leading 6 digs while teammates Krista-Ann Clapp and Megan Gregory held down the fort from the offensive side of the net with 4 kills apiece.








Thursday, September 13, 2018

SHS VARSITY EARNS UNEXPECTED VICTORY OVER ROYALS; JV ACES ITSELF TO 3RD CONSECUTIVE VICTORY

With their season record at 1W-2L, the matchup versus the Oak Knoll Royals was a pivotal one in the early season for the Maroon and White.  With the bulk of the conference schedule yet to come, the result of these early season non-divisional matchups are vital to the Hilltoppers long-term success.  For only the 2nd time in the last 8 match-ups,  SHS delivered when it mattered and out-lasted a game Royals squad for a 25-17, 25-19 victory to even their record for the year.

The first set took an unusually similar tone to the Linden match as early service errors and hitting miscues by SHS gave Oak Knoll 7 of it's first 9 points,  leading to a 10-10 score near the midpoint of the set.  Carmel Barsh got a key solo block that sparked a mini 5-1 run that featured an ace by Barsh and a kill by Sylvie Goudreau out of the right side to get the lead up to 15-11.  Summit retained that 4 point cushion until the latter stages of the set. With the score at 16-13,  a Micaela Nardino well placed off-speed attack began a 9-4 run that finished off any chance the Royals had of a comeback.  Nardino ripped off two kills in that run and Ava Williamson tacked 4 service points (1 ace) in the back end of the run to seal the deal.

Despite 6 serving errors (4 early), SHS ran off 5 aces to mitigate the damage and stabilize the point scoring phase of the game.  Nardino LED the squad with 4 kills in the set and the team tallied 12 with 5 other players contributing to the offensive output.

Set 2 was almost a mirror image of the opening set except that Summit was not committing the service errors.  Oak Knoll was playing phenomenal defense, digging up consecutive Hilltopper attacks and converting their defense into points or, most of the time, waiting for a Summit hitting error.  That strategy seemed to be working as the teams were tied at 9 nearing the midpoint of the set.

Yet again, and 5-1 run proved to be the difference in the set.  Williamson hit for 3 aces which started the run and Annabella Yorio closed it out with a kill to zone 4 which put SHS in the lead 14-10.  The Royals whittled the lead down to 2 at 15-13 but a Katie Macpherson dump attack through the block increased the Summit advantage to 3 (16-13) and was the catalyst for a 6-1 run that became the undoing of the Oak Knoll comeback.  Despite a late run by the Royals to get within 4 at 23-19, a block by the duo of Barsh and Lauren Trindell snuffed out any hope left in the Oak Knoll sideline.  This duo put the bow on the victory with another block on match point.

Summit was a perfect 25/25 in set 2 and scored on 6 aces (3-Williamson) and the squad generated 46 attack attempts in the set although only managed 10 kills.  The silver lining was that 7 different players contributed to the kill production in the set.  Summit was also exceptional from the defensive side of the ball, not giving up any aces and digging up 34 balls in the set.

Next up for the (2W-2L) Hilltoppers will be Scotch Plains-Fanwood at home, Friday, first serve at 4pm.

JV POWERS THROUGH ROYALS WITH AN ACE BARRAGE

The JVsquad continued to rely on consistently powerful serving and key defensive and offensive play to win 25-17, 25-7.

Although offensive contributions were key in set 1 with kills by Sarah Maldonado, Megan Gregory and Kate Hanson, the key to the set was Gabbie Giudetti who dominated from the service line.  In the first serving rotation, Guidetti ran off 6 straight points to give the SHS squad a 13-5 lead.  With the score 19-17, Guidetti ran off another 5 points to seal the victory in set 1 by a 25-17 score.

Set 2 was truly a serve and serve receive battle.  Both teams struggled to generate much offense as the passing was not yielding great offensive opportunites. Julissa Lopez started the set off in rotation 2 with 8 consecutive service points (3 aces) to blow the game wide open early (8-2).  With the score 11-3, Meghan Tarashuk then stepped up and rattled off 10 straight points (6 aces) to slam the door on the Royals chances.  Oak Knoll scored a few more points in the set but the Hilltoppers were too comfortable in the match and closed out the match a few points later at 25-7.

JV improved to 3W-1L on the season.



Wednesday, September 12, 2018

HILLTOPPERS WIN CRUCIAL POINTS FOR FIRST VICTORY; JV ROLLS TO 2ND VICTORY

Summit looked to get on the winning side of the ledger in their home match-up with the Linden Tigers, a divisional battle with a familiar and difficult opponent.  SHS prevailed in a hard fought 24-26, 25-23, 25-23 match that saw the Maroon and White overcome big odds in the latter phases of the match to complete a most unlikely comeback.

Set 1 saw the Tigers jump out to an 8-12 lead thanks to serving and passing miscues by the Maroon and White.  But the team slowly began to make its comeback as for 5 consecutive rotations the Hilltoppers did not miss a serve.  After an Ava Williamson hit had the Hilltoppers within 1 at 13-14,  the squads settled back to their rhythm on offense and the teams found themselves tied up at 18. Kills by Barsh and Macpherson and some Tiger miscues had the team near the finish line with the 24-20 lead.  But another missed serve helped spark the Linden offense and the Tigers soon had tied up the score at 24 and were within a 2 points of the set win. Despite a hard effort, SHS had a hitting error in the last moments and gave up a tip kill to seal the deal at 24-26.

Despite Summit out-killing Linden 10-7, tying for aces at 3-3 and adding a block, the reality was that 9 missed serves by the Hilltoppers helped drive the Linden win.

Set 2 was another close affair as the teams found themselved deadlocked at 9 after a net violation by Linden but a Macpherson overpass kill set up by an Ava Williamson jump float started a 4-1 run punctuated by a Tiger hitting error that had the Hilltoppers up 14-11.  The celebration was short lived however as Linden stormed back to tie the score back up at 14 but Summit held their composure and after a few Tiger errors -combined with 2 kills by Macpherson-, the Maroon and White had what seemed to be an insurmountable 21-15 lead late in the set. 

To Linden's credit, they never showed any panic as their best server stepped up and delivered 4 aces and saw Summit commit 2 hitting errors to get the score knotted at 21.  Another Ace and kill later and Summit saw the set slipping away trailing 21-23 until Linden committed a key hitting error which opened the door for SHS to mount a comeback.  Kiera Stocks stepped up to serve these last final points and, after a long, furious rally, Summit forced the Tigers into a hitting error and Inggs and Trindell combined for a block on the outside that had the Hilltoppers on the brink of a set win are 24-23.  Stocks put a bow on the set comeback with an ace and SHS had their first set win of the season at 25-23.

SHS and Linden were locked in quite a battle in set 3 as the squads found themselves tied up at 10 near the midpoint of the match but SHS went on a 5-0 run which saw Carmel Barsh score on a block and 2 kills to fuel the surge.  But the Tigers would not quit and went on a 8-1 run to knot things up at 16 as Summit could not manage the Linden serving power, yielding 3 aces in the run.  Summit's offense came to the rescue as Katie Macpherson struck for 2 kills to help get the Maroon and White back within reach at 20-20.  But the celebration was short lived as the Tigers hit for an ace, got a kill out of the middle and benefited from a Summit hitting error to seemingly put the game away.  But then Stocks stepped up and her serving gave Georgia Inggs an opportunity for an overpass swing that she did not miss and later, at 22-23, she hit a sharp angle shot that propelled SHS to a 23-23 tie.  Thanks to a tremendous dig by Stocks and a Tiger hitting error, the Hilltoppers took set 3 in a 25-23 decision.

Summit served at an 88% clip in the last 2 sets and hit for a .210 efficiency as a team for the match LED by Barsh who hit for a 42.1 kill % and a .263 efficiency as she led the team with 10 points (8 k, 2 blk) but the key to the match was the serving consistency of the Hilltoppers led by Trindell and Stocks who combined for an 85% serving efficiency and 7 aces (22%) to keep the Linden attack off-balance in the late moments of sets 2 and 3.

Summit travels to cross-town rival Oak Knoll today in a non-conference matchup.

JV DOMINANT EARLY, SURVIVES AT THE END IN EARNING VICTORY #2

The JV Squad got caught up in a serve and receive battle with Linden and we're dominant in set 1 as they hit for 8 aces and allowed only 4 in a 25-13 win.  When the ball was over the net, the Maroon and White were able to put it away as the team also hit for 5 kills from 4 different players.

Set 2 saw the Hilltoppers struggle to handle free balls and serve receive with any consistency early and the team trailed late in the set (22-17) but the serving of Eva OOberhuber brought Summit back to life as she hit for 2 aces and forced multiple Tiger errors which saw Summit climb back to within 1 at 22-23.  The teams traded passing and hitting errors and, with Summit ahead 24-23, Linden got a key kill to knot things up at 24 but that was the last roar from the Tiger squad as the Hilltoppers took the last 2 points to win 26-24. 




Sunday, September 9, 2018

RAHWAY EARNS A CLOSE VICTORY OVER SUMMIT ON VARSITY, JV DOMINATES

The Hilltoppers were looking to even out their record against the Indians but the early season serving woes again provided the dagger that did in Summit in this matchup.  SHS served a mere 79.5% for the match, the 2nd straight match under 85% (73.7% v. Union).

Summit was looking to straighten out its serving performance and get points off the serve and managed to explode for 7 aces in the match (3 from Cheryl Liu) but 9 serving errors did the Hilltoppers in versus an opponent that served at 91% with 8 aces of their own.  The errors at different points in the match were the key difference in the contest as the Maroon and White out killed the Rahway squad by a 20-7 margin with a 36.4 kill % (MacPherson 7 kills - 50% kill - 28.6% efficiency) but still managed to lose each set 22-25, 21-25.

Set 1 was a close affair early as the teams struggled to get consistency in their game.  Although Rahway was keeping its serves in play, their offense was not productive early on in the set.  Summit, on the other hand, had already missed 3 serves in its first 6 rotations but had also hit for 3 aces and had generated 3 kills which had both teams knotted at 9.

With SHS leading 12-11, Captain Lauren Trindell found Co-Captain Georgia Inggs for a kill, Carmel Barsh for another while Barsh blocked a Rahway attack and Liu chipped in an ace to get Summit what seemed to be a comfortable lead at 16-11 to force an Indian time-out.  After the time-out, Rahway broke serve on a kill and Summit handed out 4 consecutive unforced errors which had Rahway again tied with Summit at 16.

The set settled back to its early rhythm and after MacPherson pounded down a kill down the line to knot the score at 20, it looked like Summit got the emotional lift it needed to finish strong.  However, a couple of free ball errors and hitting errors ended the run and, even though Rahway only got 1 kill in the last 5 points, SHS still fell 22-25 in set 1.

Summit hit for 5 aces but added 4 errors (82.6 serve %) but also got aced 5 times by Rahway. Overall, Summit out-killed Rahway 11-4 but the error differential became the deciding factor in the match.

Set 2 began rather auspiciously for the Hilltoppers.  Early serving and hitting miscues fueled a 12-5 run by the Indians which seemed insurmountable as the Maroon and White would need to play almost error free the rest of the set to have any chance to muster a comeback.  A quick attack out of the right side by Inggs started the a 16-10 Summit run that saw SHS within 1 at 21-22 but a serving error and a free ball receive error dashed the comeback as the Hilltoppers fell 21-25.

Summit managed only 2 aces in set 2 but hit for another 5 errors and had only a 76.2 serving %, the real culprit in the loss.  The Hilltoppers gave up only 2 aces out of 23 pass attempts, a credit to the primary passers who kept Summit in the game when all hope seemed lost.  The offense was effective enough again, hitting for 10 kills (.333 kill, .133 effic.) led by MacPherson with 3 kills although 7 different players got at least 1 kill in a very balanced attack.  Again, Summit out-killed Rahway 10-3 but it was not enough to overcome its hitting and serving errors.

Summit will play in the Raider Tourney on Saturday to find solutions to its serving woes as it prepares for the big match against Linden on Tuesday.

JV Dominates Rahway 25-11, 25-9

JV picked up their first victory of the season behind 17 aces and 16 kills.  Gabbie Guidetti led the way with 7 aces, Meghan Tarashuk led the way defensively with 5 digs while, from the offensive side of the ball,  Sarah Maldonado led the squad with 6 kills and Meghan Gregory added 4 to pace the Maroon and White attack in a dominant performance.


Thursday, September 6, 2018

FARMERS THROW WATER ON HILLTOPPER OPENER

The 2018 Lady Hilltoppers opened the campaign with a tough matchup against last year's semifinalists in the Union County Tournament and the matchup proved that the Hilltoppers still have a bit of work to do to challenge that level of competition.

Summit fell to Union 2-0 in a lopsided affair that saw the Farmers hit for 15 aces to Summit's 2.  The lone bright spot for the Maroon and White was the offensive play of Carmel Barsh who led the squad with 4 kills and no errors.

On the JV side, Summit took the first set in a tight battle decided by the serving power late in the set of the Hilltoppers.  The team had a few too many missed offensive opportunities in set 2 and lost an opportunity to close out the match late after an early 5 point deficit had been cut down to 1 late in the set but 3 free ball errors cost Summit the set.  Set 3 saw the Farmers roll out to a 9-3 lead but the Hilltoppers fought back to take the lead late before yet again seeing serving errors and free ball receive errors thwart their chances to earn their first win.

Both squads will travel to Rahway on Friday to take on the Indians in their first divisional matchup of the season. Summit has been very successful of late against the Indians, taking 5 of the last 6 matches in the last 3 years with a few 3 set wins in the mix.   JV has gone 4W-2L over the last 3 years against Rahway as well.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

UNION FARMERS POSE EARLY SEASON TEST FOR HILLTOPPERS

The 2017 matchup versus the Union Farmers was an early indicator of what of the rest of the season would bring.  The Varsity Squad lost 25-19 in set 1, the difference in the set were the service errors and blocking errors by the Hilltoppers.  The second set saw the Hilltopper passing not handle the Union serving game very well and the Maroon and White lost 25-9 as the team couldn't find its out of system offense.

Meanwhile, a mainly 9th grade JV Squad took to the floor and used a consistent barrage of serving aces and timely hitting to overcome some of its defensive inexperience and stunningly beat a much older and experienced Farmer Squad by a tight 2-1 set score.

For the rest of the season, Varsity showed that it could compete with some of the best teams in the county but often lacked the finish to get key points that would lead to a few more wins.  JV kept using its serve as a main weapon and its outside hitters for timely points to overcome its receive issues and inconsistent digging which led them to the longest undefeated streak in program history. 

Summit will look to overcome its historical deficiencies on Varsity and prove to themselves that the team can score consistently and the JV will look to its more experienced squad to become a more well-rounded team and set up a long run in the county tournament.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

2018 VARSITY AND JUNIOR VARSITY ROSTERS REVEALED

Congrats to the following student-athletes for earning a spot in the 2018 Volleyball Team

VARSITY

Captains:   Georgia Inggs (MB/OH) and Lauren Trindell (S/OPP)

Annabella Yorio - OH/MB
Ava Williamson - DS/L
Carmel Barsh - MB/OPP
Cheryl Liu - DS/L
Kiera Stocks - DS/L
Katie Macpherson - OH/OPP
Micaela Nardino - OH/OPP
Olivia Skrobala - S/OPP
Sylvie Goudreau - OPP/MB
Tessa Pulgar - DS/L

JUNIOR VARSITY
(9th Graders)
Hope Basaman
Amanda Brown
Sabrina Ippolito
Olivia Lawlor
Victoria MacArthur
Sarah Noa
Eva Oberhuber
Jordan Parella
Natalie Peralta
Thea Rind
Jaclyn Szabados
Rebekah Thompson

(Upper ClassWomen)
Krista Ann-Clapp
Sarah Brennan
Abby Doyle
Megan Gregory
Kyra Guenther
Gabbie Guidetti
Kate Hanson
Cassandra Hrehorovich
Julissa Lopez
Sarah Maldonado
Meghan Tarashuk
Kasey Walsh

Schedule is posted on BAND, Events Calendar
***Any misspells? Let me know***