Tuesday, November 23, 2021


The 2021 Fall Season is in the books... here is a brief summary of some of the accomplishments garnered by the Lady Hilltoppers:


#2 Total Kills - V. Roberts 173

#2 Kills per Set - V. Roberts 3.68

#3 Total Points - V. Roberts 192

#2 Digs per Set - R. Thompson 4.90

#2 Receptions per Set - R. Thompson 6.07

#3 Total Assists - Z. Zacharias 395

#1 Assists per Set - Z. Zacharias 8.06


#1 Aces per Set - H. Basaman - 1.06

#1 Digs per Set - R. Thompson 4.25

#1 Receptions per Set - R. Thompson 5.34


First Team All-Stars

Vivian Roberts,  Jr. Outside Hitter

Zoe Zacharias,  Soph.  Setter

Honorable Mention

Rebekah Thompson,  Sr. Libero

Eva Oberhuber,  Sr. Middle Blocker


First Team All-County

Vivian Roberts,  Jr. Outside Hitter

Second Team All-County

Zoe Zacharias,  Soph.  Setter

Third Team All-County

Rebekah Thompson,  Sr. Libero


Vivian Roberts,  Jr. Outside Hitter


Lady Hilltoppers 2021 Fall Volleyball

Versus Clifton


Varsity - Sarah Noa,  Rebekah Thompson
Junior Varsity - Stella Yarden
9th Grade - Caroline Henry

(pics from End of Year Celebration)

Varsity - Eva Oberhuber
Junior Varsity - Elizabeth Walsh
9th Grade - Abby Cammarano

(pics from End of Year Celebration)

Varsity - Vivian Roberts
Junior Varsity - Abby Wells
9th Grade - Molly Davies

(pics from End of Year Celebration)

Saturday, November 13, 2021






Saturday, November 6, 2021


 The Lady Hilltoppers traveled to Colonia to take on the Patriots in a N2G3 State-Sectional Semifinal matchup looking to make the finals for the first time in school history.  Despite outscoring the Colonia Patriots in their 3 set affair,  the Hilltoppers came up a little short in a 16-25, 25-19, 17-25 decision.

Set 1 began well for the Hilltoppers with Vivian Roberts tallying 2 quick kills to get the Top up 2-0.  The Patriots came back to tie the score and over the next few rotations there was very little separating the sides and the SHS crew held a 6-5 lead.  A 4-0 run by the Colonia squad gave the home team a 9-6 lead.  SHS cut the lead down to 1 at 8-9 after a kill by Alison Wauters.  Later in the set,  after a Roberts kill had made it 10-11,  the Patriots went on a 6-1 run that had the Top on the ropes at 11-17 and forced Coach Martins into a time-out.  The pause seemed to help as the Maroon and Black went on a 4-2 run fueled by 2 Eva Oberhuber kills and 1 block.  Unfortunately,  the Colonia side responded with a 4-0 run and despite a service break (Oberhuber kill) to get the score to 15-23,  the Patriots shut the door at 25-16. Summit out-killed the Patriots 11-9 but the home side had a 4-1 advantage in blocks/aces to show a slight 13-12 point lead over the Top.  The difference in set 1 was the combination of serving, hitting and fault errors as SHS tallied 11 of those while Colonia only 3.

The Hilltoppers needed to be much more error free or.score more on offense if they were to turn around set 2 and indeed they did just that.  After a mere 2 rotations,  Summit saw themselves up 7-2 as Julia Nardino notched a kill along with 2 from Roberts and one from Zoe Zacharias while Hope Basaman hit for 2 aces in the run.  The Patriots had closed the lead to within 3 at 9-6 but Wauters nailed a kill which Rebekah Thompson took full advantage of with 2 aces to force a TO by Colonia with the scoreboard showing 12-6.  SHS kept pressuring the Colonia side and later in the set Summit seemed to have things under control after a Roberts kill had the Maroon and Black up 17-12.  The Patriots had other ideas and won 5 of the next 7 points to get to within 2 a 19-17.  SHS did not fold though but rather pushed back with a 5-1 run (Sarah Noa ace,  Nardino block and a Hannah Barlow ace ) of their own to essentially kill the set and tie the semifinal match up at 1-1. Summit struck for 18 points (11k, 2blk, 6 ace) while Colonia managed only 10.

There was a sense of deja vu as the Hilltoppers had gone to three last season as well in their loss to Chatham and here the Summit Lady Hilltoppers were again,  looking at 25 points away from a historic state sectional final berth.  And early on,  it seemed that the SHS squad was going to carry the momentum of the second set into the third and finish the job.  Two kills by Roberts set the Maroon and Black up with a 3-1 lead but the Colonia team went on a 7-2 run to take an 8-5 lead forcing a Summit TO.  The pause in action helped the troops settle down and Zacharias found Oberhuber for a kill after a Roberts perfect serve reception which then was followed by a Barlow tip kill to get SHS within one at 7-8. But just like last season,  the lack of preciseness late cost the Summit ladies again as 2 net errors and an attack error later,  the Patriots had regained control at 11-7.  Summit kept playing its game though and got another Barlow kill and a Noa tough serve which caused an errant 2nd ball return to cut the lead to 9-11 but a ball handling error and an ace had the Patriots up by 4 again.  Colonia opened the door for SHS with a serving error and Roberts made them pay with a kill.  

But yet again, an unforced error -foot fault- broke the momentum and Colonia regained their footing at 14-11.  SHS struck for another kill by Barlow but the Patriots finally took advantage of the Summit errors by not creating any of their own and struck for 2 kills and benefited from a Hilltopper hitting error to earn their biggest lead at 17-12 forcing Coach Martins into his final TO.  

Yet again the ladies responded with a Noa perfect pass that set up a crushing kill by Oberhuber but a hitting error and ace later,  Colonia had erased that slight setback and had extended the lead to 19-13.  The glimmer of hope resurfaced as the Patriots served a ball way out of bounds and down by 5,  if there was a move to be made,  this was the time.  Unfortunately,  the move was the Patriot's and with the score 20-14 it all felt unsurmountable.  

But that has not been the character of this squad all season long and their grit was on full display under massive pressure and their backs against the wall.  Thompson put up another perfect serve reception which Zacharias handed off to Oberhuber for another kill,  15-20.  Thompson then delivered a serve that caused all kinds of problems for the Colonial squad which the Captain then received as a free ball which was perfectly delivered to Zacharias.  The sophomore setter then found Barlow again who tipped the Hilltoppers to 16-20.  The bench erupted,  the fans cheered,  hope.  The Captain stepped up again and delivered with an ace that sent the team into a frenzy and belief was now present.

But it is during these moments that earlier mistakes come to haunt any team and the Hilltoppers just had no more room for errors and unfortunately,  another 2 hitting errors became the reality in this moment in the match and the Colonia side put down 2 kills to slam the door on the Maroon and Black and end the great run to another state sectional semi-final.

SHS just couldn't replicate the serving difficulty they had in set 2 as they hit for only 1 ace to 3 errors with only a 1.89 rating.  In comparison,  the team hit for 6 aces and 3 errors with a 2.24 rating in set 2.  Thompson was outstanding in set 3 with a 2.60 serve rating.  The Captain was also the team leader on serve receive with a 1.88 rating although the team passed for only 1.52 and was often out of system.  Barlow left her best for last as the sophomore hit for 4 kills in the set and Oberhuber hit for 3 on only 5 swings and no errors to keep the Top alive at key junctures in the set.  Defensively,  Thompson and Roberts dug up 9 balls in the set (5 and 4 respectively) to anchor a defense that did all it could with Wauters notching the only block defensively as well.  

For the match,  team leaders

Thompson - 12/12 serving, 3 aces, 2.42 rating;  15/26 perfect pass 58% 2.19 rating; team leading 12 digs

Noa - 7/7 serving, 1 ace, 2.43 rating;  3/7 perfect pass 43% 2.14 rating

Roberts - 2nd on team 8 digs;  team leading,  season best and career best 14 kills, .323 efficiency and kill % of 45%;  led team with season and career high 16 points

Oberhuber - 2nd on team 7 kills;  .313 efficiency and kill % of 43.8%

Thursday, November 4, 2021


Senior Leadership Leads Summit to N2G3 Semis

The Summit Lady Hilltoppers hosted the Millburn Millers yesterday in a battle of evenly matched teams looking to move on to the semis of the state sectional tourney.  Summit was a slight underdog in this match and had not beaten the Millburn squad since 2009 and the two schools last matched up in 2018, a 2-0 Millburn win.

Hope Basaman started the Top off well with a down ball kill that gave SHS its first point of the Quarter-Finals.  Millburn quickly took the lead to 3-1 but a hitting error by the Millers,  4 aces by Hannah Barlow and a kill by Vivian Roberts had Summit in control at 7-3 and forced a Millburn TO.  Coming off the time-out,  SHS won the next 3 of 4 points thanks to an ace by Torie MacArthur  and the Top stood tall with a 10-4 lead.  The 6 point cushion remained until the later stages of the set when Roberts notched a tip kill and Barlow served up a bullet that led to a 3rd ball return error and the Hilltoppers found themselves up 18-10.  Despite a break of serve,  the Top found themselves up by 8 yet again as Roberts ripped an ace in her first service attempt (20-12).  Millburn got as close as 21-15 but never really challenged as 2 aces by Rebekah Thompson set up a 4-0 run that sealed the set 25-15 for the Hilltoppers.

Summit outscored Millburn 12-8 in the set thanks to a 9-1 ace advantage.

Set 2 began similarly enough with the Millburn side taking an early 4-1 lead before Roberts put down a kill to stymie the run but the Millers got right back in control thanks to 3 consecutive SHS hitting errors.  Alison Wauters got a crucial kill to break serve and get SHS within 4 at 7-3.  This kill was the beginning of a 4-1 run that saw Barlow and Eva Oberhuber get kills and Thompson rip an ace that put the Maroon and Black within 2 at 6-8.  The Millers responded with a kill to break the Top's momentum but Hilltoppers were undeterred.  Zoe Zacharias started it all with a dump kill and Julia Nardino let her presence be felt with a block which then set up a Barlow kill to knot up the set at 9.  Millburn earned a tough kill to go back on top but the Hilltoppers were able to flip the lead in the next rotation thanks to a Miller hitting error and a Roberts kill.  Summit began to open up a slight lead over the next few rotations with Wauters and Oberhuber notching blocks and Barlow ripping another kill to give the home side an 18-13 lead.  A few rotations later,  it seemed like an academic exercise as the Hilltoppers benefited from a Miller serving error and got a Roberts kill to see the scoreboard read 21-16.  But someone forgot to send Millburn the memo and the visitors took advantage of Summit's mental lapse and went on a 3-0 run (kill, ace, blocking error) that all of a sudden had the Millers within shouting distance at 21-19.  Roberts again provided some relief with a kill to zone 1 but yet another kill by the Millburn middle had the Millers yet again at the doorstep at 22-20 but a serving error provided some stress release for the Top.  Despite the pressure being on the visitors,  it was the home side that seemed over anxious as the Top notched an attack error and a free ball return error to see the Millburn side tie the score 23-23 and force a Summit TO.  

Off the time-out,  Barlow was the target and she passed up a perfect 3 ball which led to a Roberts attack.  The Millers dug it up but Thompson dug their attack up although the Hilltoppers were not able to do much with it.  Luckily,  neither did Millburn on the subsequent play and Thompson yet again played the ball, a perfect free ball pass,  and Zacharias found Roberts for a kill to give Summit their first match point at 24-23.  SHS could not capitalize as they suffered a service error and the subsequent play seemed to spell the end of Hilltopper run when SHS sent a serve receive pass easily over the net to the charged up Millers.  Millburn tried to catch the Top off guard with a tip attempt wide but Roberts dug it up beautifully.  Zacharias seemed to get her wires crossed with Oberhuber as she set a slide when it looked like Oberhuber had called a quick but the senior MB chased the set down and sent a screamer to the ground giving the Maroon and Black another match point and exciting the crowd in attendance.  Zacharias then sent a serve that had the Millers slightly out of system.  Millburn generated an attack that yet again Thompson dug up and Barlow attempted to put away but to no avail as the visitors desperately defended to keep their season alive.  Another Millburn attack,  another Thompson dig and this time it was Wauters who tried to finish it but yet again the Millers responded.  Roberts then saved a certain Millburn kill and Thompson eventually attacked it (a reversal of roles) and it forced the visitors into perhaps an offensive option they would not have had if the Hilltoppers had merely settled for a free ball.  The subsequent Miller attack was against the wall of Wauters and Oberhuber which altered the swing and led to a hitting error,  sending the Hilltoppers to the semis of the state sectional tournament for the second consecutive year and only the 4th time in its history by virtue of a 26-24 set 2 win.

Summit out-scored the Millburn squad by an 18-11 tally (14-10 kill lead) in a set that saw the Millers pass much more efficiently but not be able to slow down the SHS attack.  

The Lady Hilltoppers will try to get to the finals of the N2G3 Tourney for the first time in its history but they will have to do it on the road,  at #2 Colonia,  Friday,  11/5 at 4:30pm.  

Sunday, October 31, 2021


 The Lady Hilltoppers took to the road and traveled to #18 Clifton in their last tuneup match before the State Sectional Quarterfinals.  Summit would be without the services of MB Julia Nardino unfortunately but Hope Basaman would slide into the MB role and Hannah Barlow would take the OPP as the team hoped the previous experience of Basaman as the MB would be sufficient to carry the team through the match. 

As in many of the contests against upper echelon teams this year,  the Hilltoppers look like they could compete early on but somehow,  later in sets,  the SHS squad always seems to commit a rash of errors that prevent them from really threatening their opponent.  Such was the case on this matchup.  Two kills by Vivian Roberts and an ace by Basaman had the Top up 3-1 early and the team looked confident and sharp to start the contest.  A 3-0 run by the Mustangs had Summit down by one but Roberts powered a shot through the Mustang block to even the score at 5.  Eva Oberhuber got into the mix a rotation later with a slide kill and the Maroon and Black stood even with Clifton at 6-6.  But then Summit committed 3 unforced hitting and blocking errors and suffered an ace to give the Mustangs a 10-6 lead.  SHS won a long rally and got yet another kill by Roberts to get within 2 but the Mustangs got control back and eventually extended the lead to 5 at 15-10 as the Top just could not seem to find offense outside of Roberts.  SHS got back into the set with some tough serving by Torie MacArthur who forced a hitting error by the Clifton and the Top was again within striking distance at 12-15.  A kill by the home side broke the Summit momentum and after an ace,  Coach Martins called a TO.  Coming off the time-out,  SHS got a perfect pass up but an unforced hitting error followed and the subsequent serve receive play yielded another perfect pass that was also hit out of bounds without any pressure and the Clifton side,   all of a sudden had a 19-12 lead.  Summit straightened itself out and won the next three out of four points with Oberhuber getting a kill in the run to get Summit within 5 again at 15-20.  But SHS could not cut into the lead any further and after they got to 17-22,  the Mustangs closed it out 25-17 thanks to 3 consecutive errors (2 hitting, 1 setting) by the Hilltoppers.  

Set 2 began terribly for the Maroon and Black as the team found itself 5-0.  A Roberts kill stopped the run but the Mustangs sensed the set could be over early and got another 3-0 run to run up a 7 point lead to 8-1.       The lead got up to 8 and there it stayed despite numerous good plays by the Hilltoppers,  they just could not whittle that lead down and the Mustangs finished it off with a kill and,  appropriately enough,  a Hilltopper hitting error to win the set and match 25-16.

Basaman remains the biggest threat off the service line going 6/6 with one ace and winning 50% of her service points.  Sarah Noa was also outstanding versus Clifton going 8/8 with one ace.  Despite being targeted early,  Rebekah Thompson got back on track with 17/19 on serve receive with a team leading 1.84 pass rating and 5 perfect passes.  Roberts was once again an offensive factor with a team leading 5 kills,  a team leading .250 efficiency and kill percentage of 41.7%.   

Defensively,  Roberts and Thompson saved 17 of the team's total digs but the squad was not able to convert on enough of those which was a factor in the loss.  Basaman was involved in the blocking defense with 2 assists as she filled in admirably for the team's leading blocker Nardino.  

The Mustangs out-killed the Summit Hilltoppers 23-12 and held a 9-4 lead in aces and blocks.  The Summit number that stands out though is the 12-7 hitting error advantage the Hilltoppers held over the Mustangs.  The path to a long run in state sectionals is defined now.  Can the Hilltoppers fix the unforced hitting errors while they remain aggressive on offense?  The answer to that question will go a long way in determining this team's success in states.

Next up,  Millburn,  Wednesday,  11/3,  5:30pm,  in the Main Gym,  Quarter-Finals in State Sectionals.

Thursday, October 28, 2021



The Raritan Rockets of Hazlet, NJ took the 40 minute trip north to face off again the home team,  the Lady Hilltoppers of SHS,  on Senior Night,  an event always filled with emotion which signals that the season is reaching its end point.  

JV kicked off the festivities with a tough serving Raritan side which proved too tough in the first 2 rotations for the Summit side to stop and the Hilltoppers found themselves down 8-4 very quickly.  Not much changed for either side through rotation 6 and the Top still trailed 15-10 as the Rockets' best server came up again.  This time, however,  the Summit squad broke serve without losing a point and managed to get 1 themselves to cut the lead to 16-12.  A 4 point run by the Raritan JV could have been the clear message that the set was lost but the Hilltoppers responded with a 4-0 run of their own behind Naya Kim to keep SHS in the mix at 20-16.  But Summit could not muster much else even though they broke Raritan on the next play to stay within 4 at 21-17,  they could not keep the serving pressure up and dropped set 1 25-17.  

Set 2 began ominously similar to set 1 with the Rockets' best server spotting the Raritan crew a 5-1 lead.  Again,  nothing much happened over the next 4 rotations as both teams failed to get any run going in any rotation.  With the score 10-6 Raritan,  the Top got an unexpected but dominant 9-0 run by Kate Cooper to put the home side up 15-11 at the end of rotation 6.  Just a mere rotation later,  Emily Griffith sealed the set essentially with a 4-0 run that pushed the lead to 20-12.  But Raritan was far from done and over the next rotation the Rockets outscored the Top 5-1 and the Hilltoppers felt the pressure of being chased with RHS trailing only by a 21-17 tally.  Abby Wells relieved the pressure however and sealed the set 2 win with a 3-0  run (2 aces) to push a 3rd and deciding with a 25-16 score.

Set 3 was yet again a tough start for the Top and the home side just could not generate anything off their serve which pretty much sealed their fate by rotation 6 as the scoreline read 23-8.  Coach Ross implored the Hilltoppers to fight on and not to end the season this way and the squad responded with its back against the wall at 24-9 and the team rallied behind Abby Wells again who ripped 9-0 run (4 aces) to bring the team back with a glimmer of hope at 23-19! Raritan broke serve to get its first match point but SHS broke serve and the team had a shot at 24-20.  Emily Demm got Summit one more point at 24-21 but the comeback fell short and the Hilltoppers lost 25-21 for only their 3rd loss of the season.  

Summit finishes the year 15W-3L (2nd highest # of wins),  a winning percentage of 83.3% (3rd best ever), a Quarterfinalist in the County Tournament and #1 JV Squad in the Mountain Division.  


Maybe it was the emotion of the moment,  maybe it was the late start,  maybe it was all of the above or none of the above but,  the fact is,  that the Hilltoppers failed to open set 1 with any consistency against the Raritan Rockets and played catch-up the entire set.  

Although set 1 started slow for the Top,  the home side got a kill from Vivian Roberts and a service error by the Raritan Rockets who held a 3-2 lead at that point.  A free ball reception error led to three unanswered points and the Hilltoppers were in a deeper hole at 7-2.  A few rotations later,  SHS gave up another 3-0 run thanks to a Rocket kill and 2 Hilltopper errors and the home side was looking at an 11-4 deficit.  But the team started to respond by way of a Hope Basaman kill which gave Sarah Noa  the opportunity to put the Raritan squad under duress from the service line and forced 3 RHS errors to close the gap to 11-8.  Unfortunately,  the visitors were not deterred and responded with a 4-0 run (2 SHS hitting errors and free ball return error) to extend the lead back to a 7 point bulge at 15-8.  Two rotations later,  the Top got a gift in the form of a Raritan serving error and got a key kill by Alison Wauters, a big block by Eva Oberhuber and an attack error by the RHS side that had the Hilltoppers back in the mix at 18-15.  Nothing much changed for the subsequent 2 rotations as the Summit side kept themselves within 3 after a Wauters kill had the score at 20-17 Raritan but the SHS crew gave up 2 aces and added a hitting error to see the visitors take a seemingly insurmountable 23-17 lead.  Yet again,  a Raritan serving error opened the door for the Top and Basaman took the shot with an ace and 2 more tough serves that led to 2 Rocket errors to keep hope alive at 23-21.  Unfortunately,  Summit ran out of time as the Rockets closed it out 25-21.  SHS scored only 9 points in the set to Raritan's 13,  a major factor in the set.

Set 2 saw Hannah Barlow enter the fray as the starting OPP as the squad looked for a spark.  After a service break had the Hazlet school up 1-0,  Barlow drove a ball down from the OPP to knot up the score and go on serve.  The sophomore did not disappoint as she rattled off 6 straight service points (4 aces,  Roberts kill, RHS error) to give the Top a 7-1 lead they would fight to keep the entire set.  Raritan cut the lead down to 4 after an ace (10-6) but the Hilltoppers got a dump kill by Oberhuber and kills by Cece Webb and Barlow to extend the lead again back to a comfortable margin at 13-6.  Yet again the Rockets cut the lead down to 4 at 14-10 but a serving error and a Roberts  kill later,  16-10.  Late in the set,  the Hilltoppers seemed to have it all in control as another set of kills by Roberts and Webb  had the squad up up 23-15 but the Rockets' resiliency was outstanding and they kept fighting back,  cutting the lead down to 4 at 24-20 before Oberhuber put a final exclamation point on the set with a kill to close it 25-20.  Summit outscored Raritan 18-8 in the set and the 13 kills in the set were the main factor in the set.

The deciding set saw Barlow stay in the match but also saw the return of Basaman in the OPP.  The senior opened set 3 with a kill and tough serve by the OPP which led to a Roberts kill to open up an early 2-0 lead.  Despite a service break,  SHS broke right back and went on a 3-0 run (Julia Nardino ace,  Roberts kill) that had the Hilltoppers up 6-1.  Raritan kept clawing back and had cut the lead down to 9-6 but the Summit seniors led the team in re-taking control with kills by Oberhuber and Basaman and another Barlow kill,  this time from the OH slot,  to open a 13-6 lead.  But one thing became clear,  the Raritan team,  also led by many seniors,  was not going to fold at any point,  no matter the lead,  and in expected fashion,  the Hazlet school manufactured a 3-0 run that had the Summit fans nervous with the score 13-9.  But the X factor in the last 2 sets had been the sophomore Barlow and the team looked for her again to deliver and she did with a screamer to zone 6 to break the RHS serve.  Barlow followed up with an ace and Roberts ripped another kill to zone 4 and just like that,  16-9 SHS and a TO by the Rockets.  Raritan broke serve coming off the time-out but Nardino got a kill to zone 1,  Basaman ripped an ace to 5 and Roberts drove a ball down to 1and the Hilltoppers seemed to have it all under control at 19-12.  The Rockets responded with a 4-0 run that ended with a Sarah Noa down ball kill that fueled a 3-1 run (Barlow and Oberhuber kills) that got Summit closer to a win at 23-17.  The Rockets got as close as 3 at 23-20 but a 2nd ball return error and an attack error that sailed 3 ft. out sealed the deal for the Hilltoppers 25-20.  Yet again SHS out-scored Raritan 19-11 with a 16-9 kill advantage,  ultimately the difference in both set 2 and 3.  Roberts saved the best for last as the OH junior went 6 kills of 12 attempts with 0 errors in set 3 to push her match total to 10 and Senior Captain Rebekah Thompson was a defensive machine all match, tallying 19 digs (6 in 3rd set) and passing safely in 22/24 attempts with 11 of them being perfect 3.0 passes (50%).  

With a guaranteed 2 more matches on tap for the Hilltoppers (Clifton on 10/29 on the road and the N2G3 Quarter-Final Matchup versus either Millburn or Belleville at home on Wednesday,  11/3 at 5:30pm,  the Hilltoppers could earn the 3rd most wins in program history and the 4th best winning %. 


The 9th grade squad complete the perfect season with a 25-9, 25-21 win versus Payne Tech at home today to finish with a perfect 11W-0L record!!!  This is the best record ever by a 9th grade squad,  the most amount of wins and the 2nd consecutive year the 9th graders finish UNDEFEATED!!!!  That is a 19W-0L record over the span of 2 seasons!!!  Congrats to all the young ladies and Coach Seifert!!! 

Saturday, October 23, 2021


 The Lady Hilltoppers hosted the Dayton Bulldogs in an early Saturday morning matchup.  The Bulldogs entered the match suffering a tight two set loss to the Cranford Cougars and the Hilltoppers had dropped a 2-0 decision to the Falcons of Mount Saint Mary's.  Both squads were looking to get back to the winning side of the ledger as they tuned up for their individual State Sectional run.

In today's match,  the Hilltoppers were going to be without the services of the Vivian Roberts as the junior was taking care of the student part of student-athlete as she prepares to enter the college selection and application process soon.  But this match also marked the return of sophomore Hannah Barlow in her first full match since early September due to an elbow injury.  On paper,  the matchup seemed to be a close one and it proved to be so with an entertaining 3 set affair the result at SHS's main gym.

Set one was clearly an adjustment period for Summit as the familiarity of a Roberts was clearly missed and the nerves and excitement of a Barlow in the line-up clearly impacted the rotations.  Summit started off slow on receive as the Bulldogs notched 2 aces early and saw the Top suffer through a hitting,  ball handling and serving error to open with a 5-1 deficit.  Things seemed to settle down a bit as Dayton was also called for a BHE to snap their service run which led to a Aya Laws line drive serve to zone 5 the led to a Bulldog error and Eva Oberhuber, a key to today's plan,  smoked a cross court attack to sone 2 to get SHS to within 1 at 5-4.  However,  the good feelings were short lived as the early unforced errors again raised their ugly heads as the Bulldogs went on a 6-0 run (block error SHS, BHE SHS, 2 aces, 2 kills) that only ended because of a Dayton service error.  Summit returned the favor and the Orange and Blue got on another 2-0 run (Summit hitting error and free ball error) as the scoreboard flipped to 14-5 Dayton before an Alison Wauters kill stopped the run.  Unfortunately,  another SHS service error stymied any possibility  of a Summit run and another attack error by the Top had the Bulldogs up 16-6.  But then the Captain,  Rebekah Thompson, stepped up to serve after a Zoe Zacharias tip broke the Dayton serve and the Libero ripped 2 consecutive aces to get the Top within shouting distance at 16-9.  The attack errors continued and SHS found itself down by 8 again at 19-11 despite a Hope Basaman kill.   But 2 more errors by the Summit crew had Dayton on the verge of the set victory at 21-11 and the Maroon and Black could not do much to stop Dayton as the teams traded points as the score-line read 23-13.  Oberhuber then drove a kill to zone 1,  Zacharias dropped an ace and a Bulldog hitting error seemed to lift the Hilltopper spirits despite the 23-16 deficit.  The set ended on a Bulldog kill and ace but the team felt like it had figured out a rhythm late in set one that was going to work.

The following set started well enough with Basaman hitting for an ace and Barlow a kill to open up 2-0.  Dayton responded with a 3-0 run but the Top saw Barlow nail another attack which led to a 4-2 run that saw Oberhuber crush 3 balls and the SHS squad had taken the lead 6-5. A 5-0 run by Dayton fueled by a few Summit errors had the Bulldogs up 10-6 and it started to feel eerily like the first set yet again.  But this time,  it was a service error by the Dayton Varsity that sparked a 5-0 run in which SHS got key, tough serves by Thompson again that forced the Bulldogs into hitting errors and highlighted by a Cece Webb kill that saw the score-line flip to 11-10 Summit before a Top error ended the run.  Dayton scratched for a mini run of 2 points that put the Bulldogs up 13-11 but a Basaman kill ended the mini-run and Barlow and Basaman notched one kill apiece to flip the score yet again to the Summit side at 14-13.  Both squads traded points over the next two rotations as nothing much changed with the score 16-15.  Dayton yet again was able to take an opportunity presented by the Top of a service error and turn it into a 3-1 run that had the Bulldogs up 21-17 as Coach Martins was forced to call a TO.  Off the time-out,  SHS went to Barlow and the sophomore did not disappoint with a kill to zone 5.  Barlow notched an ace off her jump serve and  the Maroon and Black were only down 21-19.  A service break occurred but the Summit offense responded with a perfect pass by Thompson which Webb put into play.  The Bulldogs could not do much with it and Thompson passed up another perfect ball off a free ball opportunity and this time Oberhuber had her shot but the Bulldogs yet again stymied the Top.  However,  Dayton's first opportunity to attack in this rally went right at Webb's hands and the block had SHS down only 22-20.  Another long rally ensued after another Zacharias serve and the resulting point went to the Hilltoppers after an Oberhuber dump kill which in turn led to a Zacharias ace forcing the Dayton Coach to call a time-out with his squad tied 22-22.  Off the time-out,  SHS got a great dig from Thompson and Oberhuber got set up for the kill to get Summit the lead at 23-22.  A Hilltopper hitting error had the score knotted up but Thompson again passed up a perfect ball that was attacked by Zacharias but the Bulldogs dug it but could not find the court on the Maroon and Black's side as Thompson and Webb tallied 2 digs that led to a Dayton hitting error and put the Hilltoppers on the verge of a set 2 win.  Thompson again found herself on the service line and she delivered an ace to knot up the set score at 1 and finish these  comeback 25-23.

The deciding set did not start with Summit carrying the momentum of set 2.  On the contrary,  it had an eery feel of set 1 as the Bulldogs jumped all over the Top for a 5-1 lead that had Coach Martins calling a time-out to calm and refocus the troops.  Sarah Noa then passed up a perfect ball off the TO that Zacharias dumped off a block for a kill and the Top was on the plus side of the ledger at 2-5.  That kill brought Torie MacArthur up to serve and the senior DS ripped a ball to zone 5 that saw the Dayton offense have a little trouble with and led to an out of system swing that the senior DS dug up and Wauters , back into action in the 3rd set,  put down for a kill.  This was the beginning of a 5-0 Summit run fueled by MacArthur's serving that saw Wauters hit for 2 more kills and Thea Rind squeeze one through for a back row kill by the DS to flip the score in Summit's favor at 7-5.  A Dayton service break was not enough to derail the Hilltoppers and Thompson got a back row kill and Barlow nailed another shot from the outside in the midst of a lot of switches of serves to give the Top an 11-10 lead.  

Dayton took the lead over after a service error and a BHE call against the Summit crew but Barlow and Oberhuber ripped kills to reestablish the SHS lead at 13-12.  Despite a service error giving the Bulldogs a 13-13 tie,  Dayton failed to serve the next ball in and SHS punished them for it with a block by Oberhuber and an ace by Barlow which forced a Bulldog TO with the team up 16-13 in the late stages of the match.  The Bulldogs did manage to get the ball back off the time-out but Zacharias once again looked to Wauters who delivered with a kill 4 feet back of the 10 ft line to keep the lead at 17-14.  A Blue and Orange kill gave hope to the Bulldogs but a service error deflated that hope as Thompson yet again went up and delivered a tough serve that kept the Bulldogs out of system enough to not run their best play-set.  The resulting attack was dug up by the Captain and Zacharias went to the hot hand in Wauters who delivered another kill and extended the lead to 19-15.  With the lead at 20-16 it seemed a matter of time before the comeback was complete but that was not to be as the Bulldogs had one last run in them and forced the Hilltoppers to close them out under pressure.

It started with 2 attack errors off good passes and a free ball return error in a scramble situation.  Just like that,  in the span of 3 minutes,  20-19 SHS,  Summit TO.  Another scramble play off the time-out led to yet another SHS hitting error and the Bulldogs had tied it at 20.  But Dayton had a costly serving error and Basaman made Dayton pay with a blistering ace to zone 5-6 seam for the 22-20 lead.  Another tough serve by the senior OPP  led to a scramble on the Dayton side which led to a very important rally at this point in the match.  Barlow was unable to put the ball down but Noa came up big defensively with back-to-back digs that led to another Barlow attack and then a Nardino attack to no avail.  Basaman played D and dug up a middle attack by the Bulldogs and Noa notched another dig right after which gave Barlow another shot but the Dayton Libero thwarted her efforts yet again.  But the subsequent pass went astray and the Bulldogs were unable to get it over and the Hilltoppers earned an important point to see the lead at 23-20.  Basaman smoked the next serve to zone 6 causing all kinds of problems and a free ball return gave Zacharias the opportunity to set Barlow again and this time there was no stopping the attempt and the Hilltoppers had 4 match points.  A service break by Dayton just postponed the inevitable as Thompson handled the Bulldog serve with ease and Barlow delivered the final point in a poetic finish to her return to action in a 2-1 come from behind victory for Summit as the team improves to 13W-6,  the 4th most amount of wins in program history and the 3rd best winning % in program history with a few games to go!!! 

Summit out-killed Dayton 30-18,  lost the block battle 2-3 and after a slow start,  almost evened out the ace tally,  losing only by 1 by an 11-10 score for a total scoring advantage of 42-32.  

The difference of set 1 to the other 2 was stark. 

Set 1 total scoring:  SHS 8     DAYTON 11

Set 2 total scoring:  SHS 18   DAYTON 14

Set 3 total scoring:  SHS 16   DAYTON 7

THANK YOU to all who came out to support the team this morning!!!