By Bonta Hill
With the much smaller Lowell Cardinals paying a visit from their Sunset confines, Sacred Heart Cathedral head coach Margi Beima advised her team to do two things.
Bang away and cover.
The Irish (5-3) did just that, keeping the the Cardinals (0-2) grounded as they withstood the loss of two starters, and cruised to a three game (25-16, 25-14, 25-11) non-league victory.
“We wanted to establish the middle, and we did just that,” Beima said. “If we move it around a lot, we’ll be a lot better.”
Maritza Sazo and Courtney Wong led the way Irish with 12 assists and six kills, respectively, as the Irish played without injured starters Jacqueline Shim and Kelly Ostello.
Junior Keani Hin also had a big day for the Irish as she controlled the net with six kills and three blocks.
“We’re just trying to get in [sync] with each other, and it’s just the beginning,” added Hin, who shares captain duties with Sazo. “When playing against smaller back rows, its easy to just swing away around the net.”
Lowell, which is transitioning into the new system of first-year coaches Danille Morales and Jackie Randolph, seemed to lose its edge in the second game.
Down 13-8, the Cardinals were called for an illegal set, Randolph disagreed and was called for a delay of game as she tried to get an explanation.
“We felt like that call took away some of our momentum and the call put a damper on our flow,” Randolph said. “That seemed to really get [us] out of our game.”
Randolph and Morales both admitted that they need a lot of work after being outmatched by the Irish.
“We need some more experience as we’re trying to transition into a new system,” Randolph said. “We had a lot of unforced errors, hitting the ball out, and ballhandling errors. We have a lot of work to do.”
Once the game resumed, the Irish showed quickly that the delay wouldn’t faze them as the Irish cruised through the rest of game two and coasted through the third game to earn the victory.
With Sazo setting up her teammates and Hin dominating the net, Beima was all smiles after the match and gushed about her two captains.
“Both of them are great leaders. Maritza is the quiet one and Keani is more vocal, but they compliment each other really well,” beamed Beima. “They do a good job of bringing the team together.”