By Matthew Snyder
Moments after she watched her girls volleyball team clinch a 25-14, 25-21, 25-22 win over visiting San Domenico in the penultimate Bay Counties League Central game of the season on Monday at Booker T. Washington Community Center, Drew School head coach Lindsey Stiles rattled off a number of impressive performances from the match.
Stiles saved sophomore middle blocker Sabrina Massialas for last, though.
“Sabrina was on fire tonight,” Stiles said, beaming as she sifted through Massialas’s stats. “She had nine kills. I was so proud of her.”
Massialas stood tall in the middle, particularly in the decisive third game. She provided two kills during a momentum-changing, three-point swing that slingshot the Dragons from a 17-18 deficit to a 19-18 lead. They did not trail again in the game.
It was the perfect response after Stiles called a timeout with Drew down 16-12 in the third game.
“I just told them to play some defense – that defense wins games,” Stiles said. “Just move, cover your hitters and they picked up the hits. They did very well. I was proud of them.”
The win extended Drew’s (14-4, 10-1) hold on first place in the BCL Central, where they still lead Bay School in the standings, but only in the win column. The Breakers are still tied with Drew in the loss column.
Drew seniors Kenna Kryger and Iris Qasevakatini, both team captains, also contributed in the win. Kryger had eight aces, most of which came in the first game. She served to begin the game and provided three aces to spark an 8-0 lead on the way to Drew’s most comfortable win of the three games.
Qasevakatini, the team’s top outside hitter, had five aces and six kills on nine hitting attempts. Despite starting slowly, she formed a dynamic tandem with Kryger. By the third game Qasevakatini began to put the Panthers under pressure with her powerful spikes, often from the left side of the court.
Despite playing without two of its liberos on Monday night – sophomore Sophia Solana was sick and senior captain Victoria Verdan was injured – senior Caleigh Chi filled in admirably for Drew.
While the Dragons made a number of unforced errors, they stuck with San Domenico (6-4, 6-3) during the tight second and third games before pulling away both times just at the end.
Stiles, who said Drew has struggled to maintain its intensity throughout games this season, said she was pleased that the team didn’t let up during Monday’s game.
“San Domenico has really improved since we played them last,” Stiles said. “We played them in the beginning of the season and they looked really good tonight. My team just really stepped up to the plate and got themselves in front of the ball.”