Powerful Mainland Keeps Rolling in Girls Volleyball

LINWOOD — Senior Julia Thornton has a front-row seat each sport to observe star exterior hitters and center blockers resembling Bella Canesi, Laziah Wilson, Liv Leap and Kaitlyn Boggs do their factor for the most effective group within the Cape-Atlantic League. The back-line participant additionally will get to observe Cadence Fitzgerald — maybe the most effective setter in South Jersey — set these gamers up for big spikes on the web. It may be as hypnotizing as a symphony, and Thornton has to ensure she’s paying consideration when the ball comes her manner.

That’s how good the entrance line is for Mainland Regional. You end up staring in awe as they proceed to pound opposing groups and block their greatest makes an attempt at their very own offensive spikes.

The Mustangs’ abilities have been on show on Tuesday evening as they made fast work of visiting Oakcrest, successful 25-8 and 25-15 to comb the match in straight units and enhance to 13-1. Mainland’s solely loss got here in opposition to {powerful} Ocean County foe Pinelands final week, and since then the Stangs have received 4 straight after seeing their nine-game successful streak to start out the season snapped by the Wildcats. Solely two groups have even received a sport in opposition to Mainland — Pinelands, which received 2-1 on Oct. 11, and Cedar Creek, which misplaced 2-1 to Mainland on two events this yr.

“It’s superior having them,” Thornton mentioned. “They depend on us to get the ball to them and our setter, Cadence, she’s superb. We have now to work collectively to get the ball to them to allow them to end.”

Mainland now turns its consideration to the CAL Event, which begins at this time and options the highest 4 groups in every of the league’s two divisions. The Stangs sq. off in opposition to ACIT (7-11), the fourth-place group within the CAL American. Different entries from the American Convention embody Absegami, Pleasantville and Hammonton, and the groups beneath Mainland within the Nationwide Convention that made the sphere are Cedar Creek, OLMA and Oakcrest. First-round video games are at this time with the semifinals on Friday and championship match on Monday.

“We’ve simply been engaged on communication and teamwork, and we’ve been doing fairly nicely with that, however I really feel like we are able to nonetheless do higher with that,” Wilson mentioned. “We’re having sport on prime of sport and it’s been tiring, however even after we’re drained we’ve to bounce again and play higher than we did the sport earlier than. However we’ve been fairly good at that.”

Mainland is taking part in with a ton of confidence proper now, and for good motive, as all people within the rotation is contributing. In opposition to Oakcrest in Recreation 1, Wilson went on a string of service factors that helped Mainland blow the sport open by taking a 15-5 lead. Boggs drilled the game-winning kill, and libero Amaya Perez had a few service aces to assist prolong the lead previous to that.

In Recreation 2, Oakcrest (9-7) received off to an early lead, however then Mainland scored 5 straight factors to take a 5-2 lead and with Canesi serving the Stangs opened up a 10-5 lead. Oakcrest minimize the deficit to 13-7 however that’s as shut because the Falcons may get, as Perez scored some service level to assist Mainland construct a 21-11 lead. Not surprisingly, Canesi ended the match with a monster slam from the left facet straight down into the middle of the court docket.

Canesi completed with 9 kills whereas Leap and Boggs mixed for 10 extra, Fitgzerald completed with 24 assists and Wilson and Perez mixed for 10 service aces. Leap additionally had 14 digs.

“It’s superior. I really like being a part of this group. It’s a household on and off the court docket,” Wilson mentioned. “Our mindset is to only to win, to play exhausting, to go for each ball and be scrappy. It’s been superb. I really feel like this entire group has been an incredible shock. Like I mentioned, our mindset it simply to win, so even after we’re training it’s like we’re taking part in a sport. As quickly as I get up, the very first thing on my thoughts is the sport and when will or not it’s sport time.

“Coach (Torie Wealthy, second yr) all the time says that irrespective of who we’re taking part in we’ve to exit and play our hardest. Generally we wrestle to get began however at this time I believe we actually confirmed that, from level No. 1, we have been working exhausting. I’m happy with us, we’ve been engaged on getting off to higher begins,” Thornton mentioned. “I believe we have been a bit of scared (final yr) at first simply because having new coaches are available in, every part was completely different, however we’re happy with the coaches and we’re working exhausting. Because it was such a special season, being within the spring, it’s been volleyball for us for the reason that spring and that’s stored us pushing. We’ve been crushing it.”

The Stangs must gear up for a busy schedule. In the event that they advance to the CAL championship that will probably be three matches in six days, they usually’re additionally scheduled to tackle Center Township on Thursday.

“The large key will probably be simply not getting drained, since we’ve 5 video games this week,” Thornton mentioned. “We have now to maintain our spirits up and maintain issues rolling.”

What’s subsequent: Mainland hosts ACIT at this time at 4 p.m. within the CAL Event quarterfinals. Oakcrest travels to Absegami at this time for the CAL quarterfinals, time TBA.

Contact Dave O’Sullivan: sullyglorydays@gmail.com; on Twitter @GDsullysays

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