A lot of squads preach the word teamwork. At Central Bucks West, the Bucks put that method into practice.
“Maggie Winderman and Jordyn Klementovich, in the back row – they always start us off with a really good pass, which makes it so much easier to set our great hitters like Naomi (Woo), Sarah (Tartaglia) and Maggie McCusker, who is doing really well at opposite,” explained CB West senior Ana Claricurzio.
“They are setting the offense and doing a great job with that.”
The Bucks are getting hot at the right time – West recently posted its third straight win, topping visiting Council Rock South 3-1 Oct. 7 on their home court.
The win follows consecutive sweeps of Suburban One National League rivals Bensalem and Truman.
Facing CR South, the Bucks cruised to a 25-18 triumph in the opening set, though the Bucks found themselves on the short side of a 25-23 match in game two.
“In the second game, we stopped having fun because we were concentrating too much on pulling out a win,” said Woo. “As soon as we start playing as a team and having fun, that’s when we succeed.”
From there, the Bucks put their foot on the gas, triumphing 25-10 and 25-20 to push their record to 10-7 on the season.
“We did a good job of keeping high energy the whole time,” added Claricurzio. “Even when we were losing, we managed to stay excited every match, every set.”
In the opening game, Woo posted three kills and an ace to stake West to an 18-11 lead. She and junior Jada Reichwein registered back-to-back kills to put the Bucks up, 24-16. While CR South (6-10) got a kill from setter Ava Paulson and an ace from middle blocker Emma Helverson, a service error by the Golden Hawks put the game on the Bucks’ side of the register.
While West led game two nearly the whole way, CR South managed to deadlock the score at 22-all on a kill by Hawks outside hitter Ariani Ranieri.
South closed out a win in the second set on a pair of Paulson kills sandwiched around another by Alissa Helverson, with Paulson recording the game point. Paulson seemed to fake a setting hit before pushing the ball over the net onto the floor.
The Hawks had game three tied at two before the Bucks peeled off a 20-6 scoring run to go up 22-8.
“I think we learned from the second set to not take our foot off the pedal – to fight for every shot, every point,” stated Claricurzio.
West head coach Todd Miller inserted freshman Caroline Taylor into the back row in game three and she came through with back to back aces that put the Bucks up 7-2 early on in the match.
“It’s a lot of pressure for a freshman to come in and play a role on the back row and serve,” added Claricurzio.
“She took care of her serves and was getting some hits.
“Everyone gets excited when she does good things because she’s the younger one and we like to see her do well. She gets the momentum going for us and plays really well in pressure situations.”
Consecutive blocks by Woo put West up 21-8 and West closed out game three with kills by Reichwein, Woo and McCusker.
In game four, the score was deadlocked at 7-all when the Bucks answered with a 14-6 run that was capped by a dig by Claricurzio that wound up going for a kill. Junior Emily Holyk came through with a block on an attempted kill by Ranieri that put West on top, 23-17.
However, consecutive points tallied by Hawks middle blocker Katie Marsh drew the visitors back at 23-20. Timeout was then called by the Bucks.
“It’s all about momentum in this league,” said Woo. “We needed to come together and regain our energy so we could pull out a win.”
Claricurzio and Woo helped close the match 3-1 in favor of West with consecutive kills that set the score in the final game, 25-20.
Woo led the way to victory, finishing with 13 kills, six blocks, two aces and four digs. Claricurzio also came through for the Bucks with four aces, seven kills, two blocks, 13 digs and 31 assists.
Reichwein was next with nine kills, two blocks and six digs while McCusker added six kills, three aces, two blocks and 11 digs. Klementovich recorded 13 digs, three aces and one kill while Tartaglia added four kills and six digs. Holyk had three kills and a pair of blocks while Winderman registered six digs and two aces. Taylor also posted a pair of aces along with four digs.
The Bucks also toppled CR South the first time the sides met, though that time, West had a much tougher time of it Sept. 11 on the Hawks’ home court. CR South pulled off overtime triumphs in the first two sets before the Bucks rebounded with three straight wins to escape Holland with a 3-2 victory in the match.
With an away matchup with unbeaten Pennsbury pending (Oct. 10), the Bucks have home matchups remaining with Mount Saint Joseph (Oct. 11), CR North (Oct. 14), Neshaminy (Oct. 15) and CB East (Oct. 16).
The defending SOL National champion, West went to districts last season where the Bucks topped 20th-seeded Unionville, 3-2 before falling in straight sets to No. 4 Downingtown East.
This year, seeding is set for Oct. 19 with districts opening Oct. 22.
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