By Colin Harris | Staff writer
The season is still young, but the Windham Bombers volleyball squad is showing signs of a team to be reckoned with.
Windham thumped Woodridge, 25-21, 25-22, 25-16 on Saturday afternoon in a non-conference match between former Portage Trail Conference County Division rivals.
The Bombers (3-0) are undefeated in three contests this year -- and 2-0 inside their new conference, the Northeastern Conference.
"Today is the best we've played all year, and I really had a good feeling about today even during warm-ups," Windham coach Michael Chaffee said. "We have an athletic group of girls, and they really came in today looking like they were focused on the task at hand."
That immediate task was a defeat of a game Bulldogs (1-1) team that battled the host Bombers in the early going of all three games before conceding late in play.
In the first game, Windham built an 18-13 lead on the strength of points by junior Jessica Isler and seniors Morgan Schreiner and Dari Heller.
Woodridge battled back with three-straight points from junior Liza Imobersteg and a block by Carolyn Anderson to cut the lead to 18-17 before Heller and Schreiner's play at the net pushed the lead back out for the Bombers.
Ahead 23-21, a Karsyn Mullen kill and Schreiner tip at the net put the Bombers over the top for the first game victory.
The second game was another battle as Woodridge tied the score at 6-6, and later 11-11 before conceding a small 5-1 run to the Bombers. Ahead 24-20, Woodridge again attempted a rally with points by Anderson, Imobersteg and junior Stephanie Aceto, but a serving error by the Bulldogs handed Windham the game point -- and a 2-0 lead in the match.
Woodridge looked to pull closer in the third game, as the Bulldogs jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead. Imobersteg has a kill and Aceto contributed an ace during the run, but the Bombers again battled back. Heller slammed two kills and sophomore Brittany Knight served back-to-back aces during a rally that evened the score at 6-6.
Windham would go on to break an 8-8 and an 10-10 tie, before taking the lead for good in the third game. Knight, and Heller each added kills at the net, while Isler served a pair of aces -- including the game, and match, winner to seal the victory for the Bombers.
Anderson record eight kills and five blocks for the Bulldogs, while Imobersteg and nine kills, three aces and six digs in a losing effort for Woodridge.
Bulldogs coach Jeremy Layden said that he was disappointed by the loss, but he has taken a long-term view when it comes to his team's season.
"We're thinking about the postseason with this team, and we can always learn something from a loss," Layden said. "We're trying to build on one thing every week, and I think we got something out of this game.
"I think that we did what we wanted in the first two games, and really into the early part of the third, but Windham is a good team and they have a lot of athletes out there," Layden added.
Heller had a monster game at the net for Windham, with 16 kills, seven blocks and eight points, while Isler added 27 assists, 10 points and six aces. Knight added 10 points to go along with four kills.
A number of Bombers got into the act on Saturday afternoon besides their front-line players -- an aspect of this year's team that Chaffee said has him extremely excited.
"One thing that makes this year's team special is we have depth," Chaffee said. "Some years, we're scrambling for our starting six players, but I feel comfortable this year with 13 players.
We put a lot of people in today, and they were contributing to this win," Chaffee added.
Facebook: Colin Harris, Record-Courier