On one side of the net, you had Central Bucks East senior Jenn Krzeminski. The 6-foot-3 middle hitter displays an intimidating presence in the center of the Patriots’ front court.
Committed to Elon, Krzeminski has the talent to take over a contest.
Monday, Sept. 24 at Central Bucks West, with her team trailing the Bucks by a set, she got East off to a 3-0 start in game two with a pair of kills sandwiched around a block.
CB West (5-2, Suburban One League) answers back with weapons all over the court, however.
Up front, the Bucks counter with middle hitter Naomi Woo, flanked by senior Mackenzie Brooks and junior Ana Claricurzio, who sets the others up for the kill.
After helping her team to a 25-19 victory in game one, Woo came through with back-to-back blocks on Krzeminski to tie game two at 3-all.
West never looked back on its way to a 25-18 triumph before rolling to a 25-8 victory in the final set.
“Those were big momentum plays that we needed,” Brooks said. “To watch her block Jenn (Krzeminski) was really what we needed to have the confidence to take the win.
“If we take out their center, they can’t run their middle game.”
Brooks also contributed to the sweep of the Patriots, to the tune of six kills, nine digs and an ace. Classmate Maddie Corona chipped in with five kills and a block and sophomore Magda Videva added a half-dozen six kills.
“We have a really versatile offense,” Brooks explained. “Our setter has the ability to spread out our offense across the net.
“We can trust the ball in anyone’s hands.”
The Bucks take the court for the first time without the services of outside hitter Katie Hudson, who graduated in June. A first team All-Suburban One National League selection, she led West last season with 366 kills and 277 digs.
Her replacement on the right side this year has been senior co-captain Amanda Mass, who led the Bucks with 11 kills and three blocks vs. East.
Mass recorded three straight kills at the end of game two and followed with four more in game three.
“She is really helping us replace that consistent kill on the outside,” Brooks said. “If we can feed her the ball, as a left hand on the right side, she’s hard to stop.”
Shoring up the defense is sophomore Jordyn Klementovitch, junior Maggie Winderman and senior Grace Manganelli.
Klementovitch came through with an ace, six digs and a kill while Winderman and Manganelli split 23 digs between them.
“Our back row is really scrappy this year,” Brooks said. “That really helps us because we don’t have a lot of height at the net.
For good measure, Maggie McCusker added three aces while Claricurzio contributed 27 assists and 10 digs.
For CB East (3-3, SOL), hitting errors were a factor. The Patriots committed 17 in game one, nine in the second and a dozen in the final set.
“My team really wants this match and they focus on that,” said CB East coach Kerri Rabberman.
“The scores don’t reflect how much they wanted it and how much they tried.
“Unfortunately, it didn’t fall to our side; we made way too many errors tonight.
“We let the mental game overshadow the skills that we have.”
It was the second straight time East proved to be no match for West. The Bucks swept the Patriots in straight sets the last time the sides squared off and West won 4-1 in the previous matchup.
“It’s just about us getting in their head,” Brooks said. “When we’re confident and they’re not, that’s a big part of volleyball.”
A big win for the Bucks came Sept. 20 when they rebounded from a 2-1 shortfall to overcome Council Rock North, 3-2.
Last year in districts, West opened with a 3-1 victory over CB South before sweeping Plymouth-Whitemarsh in the Round of 16. The Bucks were ousted from postseason play after suffering back-to-back losses to D1 finalist Upper Merion and 11th-seeded Spring-Ford.