Avon, Westlake and Brunswick hone volleyball skills ahead of regular season game – Morning Journal


With the volleyball season just days away, Westlake hosted a multi-team scrimmage with Avon and Brunswick.

Each game was split into two sets, with the Demons winning at least one in their two games with a 22-25, 29-27 performance against Brunswick and 25-21, 29-27 with Avon. The Eagles won their two sets, 25-22, 25-17, against the Blue Devils.

“We got better every day,” Avon coach Julie Bendzuck said. “I think that goes with every position. Starting with our hitters, they figure out how to score and not rip as hard as possible. They do a great job of changing our shots.

Alongside the offense, the defense rallies as the Eagles form a youthful movement with experienced hitters such as Avery Abfall and Grace Busold in the lineup.

“Our defense is much more fluid. They work with the block, which determines where they go and our service receivers look really comfortable,” Bendzuck said.

Westlake and Avon are both bringing in new passers to lead their offense to replace former Eagle Emma Farney and former Demon Maddie Gentzel.

Second-year Selby Bloor is expected to be Westlake’s setter, and Demons coach Meghan Spriggs sees her improving every day.

“I think (Bloor) is doing a great job,” she said. “She listens, she works with our hitters every day before practice to try to reduce that time. She wants to be perfect, that’s what I like. She knows it’s going to take a while.

Westlake had a few miscommunications early on. As the day progressed, the players settled in and started playing.

“We were still talking about reducing the jitters a bit,” Spriggs said. “We are opening with Midview (August 20). I think excitement and nervousness can get to us sometimes, but we’ll be fine.

The good news for Avon is that setter Kam Danielson was the setter with Farney in 2021. However, the Eagles are also bringing in rookie Lily Hamilton.

“Our passers are like our quarterbacks (in football). Everything goes through them and (Danielson and Hamilton) do really well,” Bendzuck said.

Avon is bringing in new players after having a great senior class and they plan to make the most of it.

“We’re a very different team than we were last year,” Bendzuck said. “We graduated everyone. We are delighted to see our young people mobilized. Our inexperience doesn’t seem like something people would recognize when they watch us play.

The best part for Avon and Westlake is that they can sharpen iron with iron as the Southwest Conference contenders take on the Greater Cleveland Conference and Great Lakes Conference champions.

“We knew Brunswick would be fast and Westlake would be disciplined. These are the teams we want to play against,” Bendzuck said.

Brunswick is the reigning CCG with an undefeated 10-0 (16-8) conference record. The Blue Devils were section finalists, falling to Avon Lake in the playoffs.

Avon went 12-12, placing third in the SWC with an 8-6 record.

Westlake enters the 2022 season as the defending GLC champion after going 23 games undefeated through to the District Semi-Finals. They fell to eventual regional champions Amherst in four sets.

Spriggs will look to bounce back after losing hitters Mary Elizabeth Hargett, Katie Whitesell, Morgan Rogers and setter Gentzel.

Avon and Westlake will start their home season on August 20.

The Eagles host Sylvania at noon and the Demons host Midview at 11 a.m.


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