Spartan spikers defeat Chargers

Mindy Carls
Orion hosted Ridgewood on Thursday, Aug. 26. Early in the second game, Mimi Carter goes up for a shot. Also on the floor, front to back, are Rachel Bowers (24), Kennedy DeBaillie (15) and Ella Sundberg. After falling 25-14 in the first game, the Chargers won the second game 25-17 only to lose the third game 25-20.

Ridgewood topped Orion 25-14, 17-25, 25-20 in varsity volleyball on Thursday, Aug. 26 in the Charger gym.

It was the first time since October 2019 that Orion had played in front of a crowd at home. Because of COVID-19, the fall 2020 season was pushed to spring 2021, and tickets for games were limited.

After the non-conference match, Orion’s record fell to 0-2 while Ridgewood’s improved to 2-1.

The Spartans dominated the action at the net, with Paige Leander blocking seven shots and Kati Jones, four. Orion had no blocks.

Outside hitter Avery Knupp led the Chargers with 14 kills, triggering student section chants of “She’s a freshman.” Another outside hitter, sophomore Rachel Bowers, contributed eight kills.

Knupp’s first varsity kill came when Orion needed a lift. Ridgewood had taken a 5-0 lead in the first game. Orion scored the next two points before a Leander kill put Ridgewood up 6-3. After that, the visitors’ lead grew to 12 at 24-12.

Ridgewood’s Paige Leander collected six kills while Kati Jones had five.

Junior setter Jennie Abbott delivered 18 assists and the other junior setter, Ella Sundberg had 12.

Spartan Brooke Jones passed for 16 assists and Jones for one.

Serving aces were Orion freshman Kennedy DeBaillie and Bowers, three each, and Ridgewood’s Aleese Park and Hallica Warren-Anderson, one apiece.

The second game was tied several times with Orion taking its biggest lead, eight points, at the end. Abbott set the ball for Knupp’s kill on the 25th point.

In the rubber match, the Spartans blocked down on four balls on the way to a 9-3 lead.

The Chargers battled back to a 13-13 tie, only to have the Spartans surge ahead to an 18-13 lead. Orion came within two at 22-20, but Ridgewood would put the next five points on the board for the win.

Assistant coach Tori Hohl led the Chargers from the sidelines.