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Colts taking charge: Tight SCAA battle goes to aggressive Academy

It was about as close as a sweep could possibly be, but all that mattered at the end of the night was the Hillsdale Academy Colts remained perfect in the SCAA West and traditional league powerhouse Camden-Frontier Redskins suffered their fourth division defeat of the year.

Taking the three games by a total of eight points, 25-22, 25-22, 32-30, the Colts aggressive play and consistent passing and power at the net proved to be too much, nearly a month after the Academy beat Camden-Frontier in four sets.

“I think just our will to win (paid off) and we were aggressive when it came time, and we needed to be,” Colts head coach Katherine Jones said about her team that improved to 12-7-1 overall and 4-0 in the league. “I think we’ve worked on being aggressive for every play, not letting a ball drop and just giving teams free balls all the time. We practice the way we want to play.”

Their height advantage also played a part on more than a few occasions. With the Redskins trying to claw back at the end of the first game, Danielle Abney delivered a key block on the Academy’s hard swinging Grace Leuthesuer to make it a one-point game.

Leutheuser more than returned the favor though, slamming down a no-doubter on the next serve, and finishing off the set with a kill in Abney’s face on the ensuing possession.

Leutheuser led the Colts with  19 kills on the night, including the finisher in the second set and several key plays in a back-and-forth final game. Jones said it is nice to have a player of her caliber to rely on, but she has plenty of teammates who are just as clutch.

“It’s nice to have her, but I know there are a lot more players we can count on to get kills too. She is, as you can tell, our go-to girl when we’re out there, but we have a lot of girls who can put it down,” Jones said. “Laura (Wonders) played awesome tonight and when she needed to she came through. She played awesome and she could be our go-to girl as well, and we have other players as well, some better than others.”

Wonders had eight kills on the night, with just one error, and three blocks.

Camden-Frontier head coach Dawn Follis said she could not question her girls’ effort, but she is still trying to figure out how to get consistent play out of a talented bunch.

“Well of course it’s frustrating, but you know, I have to push the positive at this point in the season. We’re playing a little bit better than we were so that’s what we’re going to have to push right now,” she said.”Size is a big thing, but consistency is the big gain. Whoever makes the least amount of mistakes wins, and tonight it (the entire match) was about a total of eight points.”

The Redskins hung in during the first game with quite a few aces and some big spikes from Danielle Abney, but after getting out to an 18-13 lead in the second set they started to find themselves out position by the slightest margins and they had several tough breaks. The result was a 12-4 run by the Colts to put C-F in an 0-2 hole.

“I’m guessing it was either defense or us attacking in, I’m not sure what happened,” Follis said.

Jones said she thinks her girls just started moving their feet better and were forced to re-focus after a blitz of tough serves from C-F.

To their credit, the Redskins never folded and they had three chances to win game three with one final point, but it wasn’t to be.

Follis said she is still trying to find a girl to count on during any given contest at the most critical junctures.

“That’s where I’ve lost a lot of hair, I’m surprised I have this much hair….the biggest problem is we’re just inconsistent and not one person is just pulling us through,” she said. “And what you really need is that, and I have three or four really good hitters, but they haven’t found their consistency yet this year. Looking at our record it shows.”

Effie Spieth had several head-turning digs among her team-high 14 and Morgan Warfield and Abney both had four kills and four aces for C-F, who is 10-9-3 overall and 5-4 in the division.

Heather Lantis had 33 assists and four aces for the Colts, while Grae Barber added 16 digs.

About rjwalters

I am what you think I am — a journalist. Actually when I was hired at my current job, which by the way is Sports Editor of the Hillsdale Daily News in Hillsdale, Mich., I applied for a position titled "Wordsmith", so at my best I'll call myself a writer attempting to be a wordsmith extraordinaire.


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