SHADYSIDE - There was a lot of unknown inside the newly remodeled gymnasium at Shadyside High School on Monday evening.
Both Bellaire and Shadyside trotted out youthful, inexperienced lineups for their mutual season opener before a large turnout.
The Big Reds had a bit more experience and it led to a hard-earned 25-12, 25-19 and 25-23 sweep of the Tigers.
T-L Photo/SETH STASKEY
BELLAIRE’S Morgan Runyon serves during Monday’s season-opening match at Shadyside. The Big Reds prevailed in a sweep. Additional images may be found at cu.timesleaderonline.com
"I think our girls were a bit nervous," Bellaire head coach Kaye Sechrest said. "When you lose six or seven girls from last year and you're breaking in new rotations, it's going to take some time for them to get use to playing with each other."
Bellaire had little trouble in the first game. It shot out to a 6-1 lead and never looked back.
"We played as a team, which was the biggest thing for us," Sechrest said.
Bellaire had to rally in the second and third games to post the sweep. Shadyside led by as many as six in both sets before the Big Reds got on a run to close the gap and then eventually pull ahead.
"That's why you play the games," Sechrest said. "Shadyside's improved a lot and they're going to surprise a lot of teams."
Shadyside in just the third year of its program, showed many positive signs with a lineup that featured three freshman on the court for much of the game.
However, the words 'moral victory' aren't going to continually cut it for head coach Joel Joseph.
"Getting better is part of the process, but we're not going to rest on that," Joseph said. "We could have been up 2-1 after three, but I could be a millionaire if I played the lottery. The little things and getting down on ourselves when we do make a mistake, instead of moving on, affect us too much. Chalk it up for whatever you want, but it's still loss and we have to continue to get better."
Bellaire received a fine all-around performance from Melissa Cordy. She had 12 points, six kills and seven assists.
Shiann Kolakowski added 17 points, three kills and a block. Mary Garloch notched 15 points, three aces and four kills. Tara Duffy finished with 10 points.
Shadyside was led in the scoring column by Jessie Cicogna's 14 points and nine aces. Lexi Archer had 11 points and six aces. Jonna Eneix had five points and two aces. Kelsey Chimley had four points.
Bellaire returns to the floor this afternoon at Buckeye Local, while Shadyside is off until it treks to Toronto on Wednesday.
The Big Reds made it a clean sweep with a two-game victory in the jayvee encounter.