By Jeremy Balan
Behind a match-high 18 kills from senior middle hitter Clara Cardillo, Bay School defeated Leadership High School 25-27, 25-22, 25-17, 22-25, 15-7 in Bay Counties League Central play on Tuesday at Letterman Gym in the Presidio.
“Clara’s attacking is outstanding,” Bay head coach James Scrivano said. “Her communication during dead balls with her setter needs to improve, but I like what she did on the block and I like what she did with her swings.”
Cardillo took on a heavier load with the limited role of junior outside hitter Bayley McMillan, who is working back from an injury, limiting her time on the floor.
“She’s always been our go-to; she has been all year, as she should be,” Scrivano said. “Our set distribution needs to improve because when we face teams with bigger blocks, they’re going to key on her.”
Despite Cardillo’s performance, the match was not easy for the Breakers (7-9, 6-3), who had to go five games to collect the win in the teams’ first meeting of the season as well.
The Breakers held a lead in every game, including a 10-point advantage in Game 2, but always seemed to allow Leadership (9-5, 6-3) back into each game.
“It’s all a matter of momentum,” Scrivano said. “We’re a streaky team when it comes to our energy and confidence level. Overall, it’s good to see them overcome that.”
Leadership was led by outside hitters Felicia Campbell and Karina Berry, who had six and 10 kills, respectively, but the Griffins appeared mentally checked-out during most of the match, visibly lacking enthusiasm even after they scored key points.
“For some reason, they cannot get the energy or the focus,” Leadership head coach Irie Rand said. “I try to get them hyped up, but I don’t know why they can’t do that. Nobody is communicating and you can see that on the court. I’m having a hard time changing that.”
Leadership also may have the league’s best setter in freshman Briana Silvestre, who distributed the ball well to Campbell and Berry, and also had four kills of her own, often keeping the Bay defense off-balance on set kills on second contact.
Bay has a standout freshman of its own in lanky Fiona Twiford, who had four kills and two aces.
With the result, both teams are at 6-3 in league play and appear to be playoff teams along with league rivals International and Waldorf.
“This was a big match for us,” Scrivano said. “[Leadership] is an up-and-comer in this league, but going into playoffs, if we see this team again, we’ll have confidence and know what to do to beat them.”