Thursday marked a turning point for the Lady Comets. Under new coach Brian Pickering, the Lady Comets played with renewed confidence under their coach's new scheme that propelled them over the Ashby Arrows in four sets.
"This was a good indication that we are starting to feel comfortable with the new defensive concepts," Pickering noted, giving special praise to a noted senior hustler. "Hanna Lavin was all over the court tonight running the offense." Through the first few sets, Hanna proved to be an X factor for the Comets. After stepping in to back-up spikes, Lavin shot under the ball and put teammates in key locations for kills. Lavin ended the game with 35 set assists.
Fellow Senior Abigail Christenson was a key beneficiary to Lavin's hustle. With the ball popping in the air on the Comet side off Lavin's series of sets, Christenson was found attacking the net in using her height to get on top of the ball and beat challenges by the Arrows. Christenson found 18 holes in the Arrow line on the night, killing volleys with precision and aggression before returning to her huddle as the Arrow gym reverberated in noise.
Fans from around the area descended to Ashby to watch a new look from both teams. The Comets played without their libero, forcing freshman Bella Beck into the lineup for her first varsity start. Beck responded with a near perfect night from the line (19/20) and backed up her front line with a team high 21 digs.
The gym was packed for the match. An even set series drew more fans from the streets and hallways as the Arrows met the Comets forcing sets three sets to go beyond 25 points. After the Comets pulled out a 27-25 nailbiter in the first set, the Arrows worked to regroup, but fell 25-20 thanks to the Comets owning the serving line. Hillcrest pulled out the stops with Lydia Juhl (14/14), Abigail Christenson (15/17), Hanna Lavin (17/20), Olivia Foss (20/22), Bella Beck (19/20), and Sophia Iverson (9/14) dominating the unforced errors from the serving line. The Comets were an eye-popping 94/107 from the line, an 87% efficiency with 1/3 (33 aces) of their successful serves finding holes in the Arrow line. The Comets used their serving line to propel themselves to a four set victory, scoring 27-25, 25-20, 25-27, and 32-30 in their 3-1 set victory.
It was hard for coach Pickering to pull out a top player of the night. Each had a spot in the limelight. "I liked her (Hanna Lavin) leadership, and she put the ball in the right place at the right time when we needed a kill to turn the momentum or key a big run. Meghan Peterson stepped into the middle back position tonight for the first time all season and played really well. Bella Beck got her first varsity start tonight and came away with 21 digs to lead the team, contributed 7 kills and was solid from the service line. Abby Christenson had a huge night at the net. When we needed a point she stepped up and found the hole in their defense. Lydia Juhl had a perfect night at the service line and was active in the middle at the net. Olivia Foss was solid again continuing her excellent play the last couple of weeks. Finally, Sophia Iverson had some big kills and digs when we needed them, and was clutch serving the last two points of the match. It’s nice having her experience and leadership in those big situations.
The Comets look to prep for the Section 6A tournament when they play Pack Christian at home Monday night.