Jaycee Widener was already in the air when the ball was bumped her way. She timed her swing perfectly, slamming the ball out of the air before the Maxwell volleyball team had time to process that an attack was inbound.
It was an aggressive attacking game, fueled by Widener’s 18 kills, that helped the Maywood-Hayes Center Wolves sweep the Maxwell Wildcats on Thursday 25-14, 25-12, 25-15.
“Pretty much what she showed tonight,” Wolves coach Kory Rohde said when asked about what the team can expect from Widener. “She does that pretty much every night, so that’s good.”
Widener may have led the team, but the Wolves also got help from Olivia Hansen and Alexis Wood, who combined for 11 kills, and Kiley Hejtmanek tacked on three of her own.
Maxwell was led offensively by Hannah Parrett, who tallied six kills in the third set to help her team remain competitive. Other than Parrett, the Wildcats had a hard time getting started.
That started with the first set. Maxwell got the first point on a kill from Parrett, but quickly fell behind on eight-straight Wolves’ points. The Wildcats couldn’t close that deficit. For every point Maxwell got, Maywood-Hayes Center went on a scoring run.
The Wolves got kills from all over the floor and capitalized on some Maxwell mistakes to take the first set 25-14.
“We played pretty solid,” Rohde said. “I thought we passed the ball well, hustled, had some nice saves, and some good attacks. I was happy with them.”
The second set was more of the same for the Wolves, but this was where Widener started to take over. The offense seemed to run through her more than it had in the first set, and her spikes found open holes in the Maxwell defense.
Maywood-Hayes Center jumped out to a 9-2 lead with three kills from Widener. It kept up the attack through most of the set, prompting Maxwell coach Gina Sommer to call a timeout with her team down eight. It didn’t help, as the Wolves continued the attack and took the second set 25-12.
The third set was vastly different from the other two but yielded the same result. Maxwell held on to a lead for the first third of the set, taking a 4-1 lead thanks to back-to-back kills from Parrett.
Maywood-Hayes Center was always within reach though, and both teams continued to trade points until the game was tied at 8-8. Maxwell would not regain the lead.
The Wolves went on a 5-0 run to take a 13-8 lead, and the closest the Wildcats would get was at 16-13. The Wolves took the set, and the match, 25-15.
“We did a nice job,” Rohde said. “Maxwell played well. I mean, they were scrappy, and they hit the ball well. They did a lot of good things. I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out tonight.”
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