FULTON — Behind a team total 19 kills, including 10 from Sydney Lawson, the Fulton varsity volleyball team swept Auburn 3-0 Tuesday evening at G. Ray Bodley High School.
The Lady Raiders won by scores of 25-9, 25-10 and 25-10. They only trailed Auburn in the beginning of the third set, when the Lady Maroons had an 8-6 lead. Fulton quickly regained the lead and didn’t lose it for the remainder of the set.
“Tonight, they came out with fire in their bellies again,” Fulton head coach Pat Hanlon said. “I’m glad to see that.”
That third set was the closest in the match, with the Maroons and Raiders trading points for the first half of the set, until Fulton pulled away. Fulton was able to utilize longer streaks in the entire match to secure the win.
“When a team beats another team soundly in the first couple sets, they might get a little complacent. That’s what was going on,” Hanlon said. “I think it was mental more than anything. They were a little bit lackadaisical. Once they got (focused), we were good.”
Fulton was swept 3-0 by Liverpool on Monday, and Hanlon said the team didn’t have any energy in the match. She said her team didn’t pass or serve well against the Warriors.
Hanlon mentioned she was “glad that her team’s back” after the win against Auburn.
“I told them before tonight’s game to (make) a net and get some serves and passing in before the game,” she said. “They were really pumped up and ready for the game.”
In just 24 hours, Fulton’s serving improved, with 15 aces as a team. Chyanne Okoniewski led the team with seven aces. Hope Mirabito contributed four. Hanlon said the team is traditionally a strong serving team.
Mirabito was also a key player in the second set, who was serving when Fulton went on a 13-point streak for the Raiders before the Maroons were able to record a point.
“She’s our highest percentage server on the team,” Hanlon said. “She almost never misses. She gets very upset when she does miss.”
Overall, Hanlon said the team’s offense had a little more life. Outside of the 10 kills, Lawson also had four digs. Ella Henderson chipped in 15 assists, four digs, two aces and a kill. Okoniewski also contributed two digs and a kill. Henderson, Lawson, Okoniewski and Alena Wright all had half a block.
“(Lawson) is our kill leader. She was on fire tonight,” Hanlon said. “I told Ella just to keep setting it to her.”
One of the biggest things that Hanlon promotes to her team is simply having fun while playing. At any given moment during a match, fans can see the players laughing and cheering loudly.
A little more than halfway through the season, Hanlon contributed a lot of her team’s success to that ability to have fun.
“If you’re not having fun, you shouldn’t be playing. What’s the sense if you’re not having fun?” she said. “You’ve got to be able to play a sport and be able to enjoy yourself.”
Fulton (6-4) will face Jamesville-Dewitt (8-2) Thursday at home. The Lady Raiders faced the Rams earlier this season, falling 3-0 (25-15, 25-17, 25-14) on Sept. 12. All but one of Jamesville-Dewitt’s eight wins have been sweeps.
Hanlon mentioned the team will have a tough practice in preparation for the game.
“They better practice hard because the way they practice is the way they play,” she said. “If they practice hard tomorrow, I expect a good match Thursday.”