WOLFHURST - Whenever Bridgeport seemed to make a surge Wednesday night, St. Clairsville seemed to have an answer.
And that penchant to solve the Bulldogs proved to be the difference in the Red Devils' 25-17, 25-19, 25-17 triumph in the season-opening high school volleyball match for both squads inside Bridgeport High School's John Havlicek Gymnasium.
''I'm happy with how we've come together,'' St. Clairsville coach Christa Truchan said. ''We've been battling injuries. So, we've been playing some people in different positions.
ST. CLAIRSVILLE’S Alexis St. Clair goes up for a return as Bridgeport’s Amber Millard attempts to block during Wednesday’s match inside the John J. Havlicek Gymnasium. The Lady Red Devils prevailed in three games. Additional images may be found at cu.timesleaderonline.com
''Bridgeport came out strong and definitely challenged us in areas that we need to improve on.''
The Red Devils went virtually unchallenged during the first two games, but the Bulldogs started strong in the third.
Bridgeport jumped ahead 2-0 and then 4-3. Eventually, though, St. Clairsville jumped ahead 6-5 and never trailed again.
The Red Devils strung together three straight points to take a 12-7 lead. Later, St. C. ran off six straight points to increase the advantage to 21-12.
After playing a scrimmage Tuesday night, Truchan, in her third season guiding the Red Devils, was concerned what kind of shape her team would be in for the road test. Her worries were soon put to rest.
''This team works well together and that's a credit to their offseason and the things we've done in the summer.
''We only lost three players, so we have a strong nucleus back.
''We've talked about playing together and not losing the momentum when we have it. The girls were able to do that most of the time. We're looking to continue to do that and finishing games.''
While St. Clairsville looked solid, the Bulldogs looked a bit rough around the edges. However, it didn't take first-year coach Ron Kelly long to pinpoint a few areas that need work.
''Communication,'' said Kelly, the veteran coach who has 316 victories in 31 years as a prep mentor. ''Talking to each other seemed to be a problem along with hitting the ball.
''I'm pleased with the progress that's been made. We're in somewhat of a rebuilding process and, as the season goes along, we should see improvement.''
Brigee Mick had 14 points and 12 kills for the Red Devils. Rebekah Sadlowski added eight points, three kills and two aces, Gabbie Espen collected nine points and 25 assists, Summer Gallentine had nine digs, Megan Teater recorded six points and four kills, Emily Smith had four kills, and Alexis St. Clair tallied five points and six kills.
Alysa Crook had six points and 12 assists for the Bulldogs. Hannah Lewis added nine digs, while Cheyenne Flowers had six digs, four kills and two blocks, Shannon Frey had a dig and a block, Mikaya Green collected four digs, Amber Millard had nine digs and four kills, Briana Massey had two blocks, a dig and a kill, Maclaine Murad had three points, two aces, five digs, four kills and two blocks, and Ali Baker had five points, an ace, two digs and a kill.
St. Clairsville also won the junior varsity match, 25-11, 25-12.
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