by Roger Gordon
It has been quite a start to the season for the Tallmadge volleyball team.
The Lady Blue Devils won their first three matches, capped by a resounding 25-13, 25-11, 25-17 victory over Suburban League American Conference rival Copley Sept. 6 in their home opener at James O. Maddox Court.
"Copley is a good team and we beat them pretty handily," Tallmadge head coach Adam Hamad said. "We were firing on all cylinders. We took it to them early and just kept on pushing through and ended up getting a good win."
Five nights earlier on Sept. 1, the Lady Blue Devils had a much tougher time in defeating American Conference foe Kent Roosevelt on the road 25-17, 16-25, 25-14, 20-25, 15-6.
Against the Indians, senior libero Olivia Ayres had 10 digs.
"Olivia was spot on in putting the ball right where we needed it for our setter to make a good play," Hamad said.
"She's doing anything and everything to make sure the ball doesn't hit the floor.
"Her blocking was so good that it made our defense, which is based off of our blocks, easy to set up."
Setter Amelia Perdue had 46 assists and four blocks against Copley.
"Amelia is probably the most poised player who I've ever coached and she's a freshman," Hamad said. "She's very level-headed. She's a smart player and knows what to do. She also makes sets that are just remarkable."
Junior right side hitter Sydney Schertzinger contributed seven aces and a ton of digs against the Indians.
"Sydney had an outstanding match," Hamad said. "She got a lot of balls at the net. She really stepped up and did a great job."
Senior middle blocker Jamie McGhee had seven kills and seven blocks; senior outside hitter Jessica Herman totaled 11 kills, eight digs and seven blocks; senior outside hitter Brittney Harris had six digs; and sophomore middle hitter Alex Perrin had seven kills against Copley.
In the win over the Lady Rough Riders, it was back and forth for the most part.
"They came out and gave us a little jab that kind of woke us up," Hamad said. "Their play-calling was keeping us off balance. We had to readjust both our offense and defense -- on offense to figure out where we were going and on defense to fit how their offense was playing.
"We had to clean up quite a bit, too, basically getting rid of minor errors that were costing us a lot of points."
Leading the way for Tallmadge (3-0, 2-0) were Harris and Herman. Harris had 12 kills, nine service points and 11 digs, while Herman had 10 kills, five service points and 11 digs.
"Brittney is really coming into her own," Hamad said. "A lot of times, players find it difficult to find the rhythm. At first, I didn't know how Brittney would match up with Jessica, how they would counterbalance each other. It's gone really well for them, though. They have a good camaraderie. They balance each other well and find ways to score."
McGhee had 19 kills.
"Jamie has become a force at the net whether it's getting the strong kills off of overpasses or just punching the ball," Hamad said. "She doesn't have to block the ball every time, but opponents know she's there and make it a point to get around her when she's blocking. She's done a great job for us in the front."
Perdue had 25 assists and Ayres totaled 11 digs.
Tallmadge was scheduled to travel to American Conference rival Barberton Sept. 8 and was set to compete in the Chardon Hilltopper Invitational, an event it won a year ago, Sept. 10, but results were not available at press time.
The Lady Blue Devils are scheduled to host conference foes Highland Sept. 13 and Revere Sept. 15. Both matches are set to begin at 7 p.m.
Tallmadge is scheduled to play in the Jackson Invitational Sept. 17 in Massillon. Play is set to begin at 10 a.m.