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Union Local bounces back with win over Brooke

MORRISTOWN–Coming off her team’s first set and match loss of the season, Union Local head coach Kaye Sechrest wasn’t sure which team she’d get come Tuesday’s senior night match-up with Brooke.

Would it be an emotional drained and disappointed team, struggling to come to grips with its first loss? Or, would the Jets be extra fired up, swinging with abandon and relentlessly hammering attacks at the visitors.

At times, it was a bit of both. The Jets came away with a 25-17, 25-15, 25-17 rebound victory against a Brooke time that wasn’t resigned to simply roll over and give UL the win.

“I’m still not sure which of those two teams showed up,” Sechrest said as her team improved to 18-1 with Thursday’s Buckeye 8 finale against East Liverpool looming. “We bounced back and a win is a win, but I thought Brooke played a nice game. We just had a little more firepower than they did.”

That firepower came in the form of tandem hitters Torre Kildow and Olivia Wortman.

Kildow finished with 24 kills and 12 digs. In the process, the Jets’ senior leader became the schools all-time leader in career digs. She needed seven Tuesday to pass leader Lacy Bilyeau, who finished with 834. Kildow’s total now stands at 840.

The all-Ohioan had another solid game, but it was Wortman who brought the hammer in the final set, scoring half of the team’s final eight points, including match point when she successfully hit off a Brooke block attempt.

Wortman finished with 13 kills and six digs to back Kidlow while Kelly Gress aided both with 38 assists and Julie Broussard totaled 16 digs.

“Olivia played a nice game and made some big swings,” Sechrest said. “They all played well and I think they learned a lot from the loss. You don’t like it, but sometimes a loss helps.”

Brooke head coach Emily Struck wasn’t a fan of losing either, however, given how her team played the previous time against U.L., she was fairly pleased with her team’s performance, despite the outcome.

Preslei Ridgely led the Bruins with 13 kills, three blocks, and three aces, while Landry Bone had five kills, Ava Bolen four.

“They were swinging more than we got to swing, and that’s basically what it was,” Stuck said. “I thought we played well against them, but they got more swings than we did.

“The first time, we didn’t play very well against them. It was just one of those days when we showed up meh, and didn’t really feel like playing. This time was a lot better.”

Brooke actually took its first lead of any set in the third when it went up 6-4. Union Local battled back, but the Bruins remained within striking distance, as close as down 16-17 on an Brone kill before Wortman went to work and guided her team through the final set.

The Jets have some big matches upcoming, first facing off against the Potters, which started off the week atop the OVAC Class AAAA standings with a 15-1 record.

After that, it’s the start of the OVAC Class AAA, which figures to be a loaded field with the Jets, Shenandoah (18-1), and Buckeye Trail (14-1) as the top three teams, with Caldwell (11-4), Barnesville (12-6), Magnolia (14-6) and even Linsly (13-5) potentially sneaking in, with few points separating the averages of teams No. 4 (39.47 for Caldwell) to No. 7 (35.11 for Linsly).

“The top five are really, really good, and we needed and need to be tested because we really haven’t yet,” Sechrest said. “Shenandoah tested us. We won the first and they won the second. We’ll see what happens but it’s going to be a really competitive tournament.”

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