Bridgeport Defeats River

Photo by Paul Krajnyak River’s Cortny Sapp (18) controls action at the net Monday night against Bridgeport’s Kamden Dulesky.

BRIDGEPORT — Winning the season-opener is important for any team. When it rallies from a deficit in doing so, that’s a good sign.

Bridgeport did just that Monday night as it debuted with a come-from-behind victory in five sets over visiting River inside the John J. Havlicek Gymnasium. The Bulldogs prevailed by scores of 25-20, 14-24, 22-25, 25-17 and 15-10.

“The ability to come back from two sets down to win was very important,” veteran Bridgeport coach Ron Kelly said. “It has us moving in the right direction.”

Bridgeport won the opening set after four deadlocks, the last at 10.

The Bulldogs tallied 12 of the next 15 points to grab a 22-13 lead before watching River pull to within 24-20 late.

A dink by senior Shelby Matheny sealed the deal.

The Pilots broke a 6-all tie in the second set by reeling off 14 of the next 15 points for a commanding 20-7 margin. Lacey Cordery’s ace ended the 17-minute affair.

River led from the start in the third set in prevailing in 19 minutes for a 2-1 advantage.

However, the Bulldogs duplicated that feat in the fourth game that took 18 minutes to set up a winner-take-all fifth set.

The final set was a back-and-forth affair as evidenced by eight ties. With the score knotted at 8, Bridgeport scored seven of the final nine markers to begin on a positive note.

“They are a much improved team from last year. They had some tall girls and they challenged us,” Kelly said of the Pilots. “We’re not playing in sync. We’re letting balls drop in front of us that we usually get to, but that will come.”

Leading the Bulldogs was 6-1 senior Kamden Dulesky, the reigning Eastern District Division IV Player of the Year. She finished with 21 kills, 12 digs, three points and a block.

“Kamden can be dominating,” Kelly allowed.

Aiding Dulesky were Lauren Neer with 30 assists, 11 digs, eight points and a trio of kills. Matheny added 18 points, 14 digs, seven kills and four aces, while Danielle Hollingshead had 10 points, four digs and a pair of assists. Taylor Newkirk charted 34 digs and Brianna Conway added 14 digs and eight points. Maura Tiber had seven digs and Jaren Tucker two points.

River was paced by Allison Bennett with 43 assists, 10 digs and three assists. Lauren Flannery chipped in 12 digs and 10 kills, while Candace Caldwell had 15 digs and five kills. Cortny Sapp finished with 11 kills and four digs. Cordery had 31 digs and Katie Straub 10 kills. Macey Ladyga added eight kills.

“We’re really a young team. We don’t have a senior, so we’re mainly a junior and sophomore team,” River coach Judi Curtis said. “It’s just a matter of working on our communication. That’s our big focus.

“I’ve got a good problem this year. I’ve got a lot of good players, they’re just young. We just need to learn how to work as a team and we’ll be alright.”

Shadyside d. Bellaire

25-18, 25-8, 25-13

SHADYSIDE –Jess Cicogna had 16 assists and eight aces as Shadyside defeated Bellaire in consecutive matches. Mackenzie Osman tallied eight kills and six aces while Jillian Joseph secured 10 kills for the Tigers.

Barnesville d. St. John 25-12, 25-10, 25-11

BARNESVILLE — Barnesville opened the season with an impressive sweep of St. John.

Mya McEndree had nine points, three aces, two kills and 11 assists. Mindi Wehr and Madison Detling each had six kills. Wehr also contributed six points and two aces. Astin Skinner had seven points, two aces and nine assists.

Lindsey Burkhart and Erin Hannahs had 15 and 13 points, respectively. Hannahs had four assists, too.