The Calvary Day volleyball team notched another victory on Thursday, improving to 15-0 on the season by defeating rival Savannah Christian 27-25, 25-22.
It was a rematch of last October’s GHSA Class A state championship in Atlanta, where the Cavaliers beat the Raiders for their second consecutive title.
On Thursday at Calvary, the teams essentially traded points until the Cavaliers pulled away at the end of each game. In the first game, Savannah Christian nearly came back from being down 24-20, led by junior outside hitter Adrianna Simon, before CDS emerged with a 27-25 win.
Calvary head coach Hannah Hunter, the reigning Savannah Morning News Co-Coach of the Year, said her freshmen have played a key role in her team’s success.
“I lost seven (players) last year, so coming in I was a little nervous about what this team was going to look like,” Hunter said. “I have two freshmen that have really rose to the occasion and have stepped into very big shoes and have handled it with almost upper-classmen-level play.”
Those two freshmen are outside hitter Tynley Smeltzer and the versatile Alana White, who have replaced the likes of Claudia Chisolm and other who graduated after a state championship in 2016.
Hunter said she thinks the key to Calvary’s success isn’t a specific skill on the court.
“I think the biggest thing is just having fun and loving the game of volleyball,” Hunter said. “I have hardly any drama. Everyone is on the same page with their mindset, and we just get after it.”
Hunter’s counterpart, Savannah Christian coach Julie Jones, said her team rallied well late in games but could have started more smoothly.
“We gave away easy points to start kind of in a hole, so to come back … I’m pretty proud of the kids,” Jones said. “That’s probably the best we’ve played … We played like we’re capable of.”
For their part, the Raiders have lost only three matches this season, and Jones realizes Calvary isn’t any an every-day foe.
“They have two pretty big middles,” Jones said. “Sara Daniels is a game-changer.”
Daniels, the 6-foot-1 middle blocker, is an imposing frontline player who is hard for smaller players to get around or over.
Both teams were scheduled for doubleheaders on Sept. 12, but Hurricane Irma could cause the matches to be moved or postponed.
Calvary def. Savannah Christian 27- 25, 25-22
Top players — SCPS, McKenzie Riner 4 kills; Sarah White 1.5 blocks, 5 digs; Sydney Burk 6 kills, 10 digs; Adrianna Simon 5 kills; Sam Zittrauer 14 assists, 9 digs, 1 block; McCulloch Hoxie 2.5 blocks; Logan Jones 6 digs, 1 ace 2 assists. CDS, Basia Peragine 9 kills, 2 digs; Helen Chisolm 7 kills, 10 digs, 1 ace; Madison Sprosty 11 digs; Susu Fowler 13 aces. Records—SCPS 13-3, 2-1 area; CDS 15-0, 2-0 area.