Cleveland opened its season with a sweep of St. Pius in Sartan Garden on Tuesday night.
After six service errors in the first set, the Storm calmed down, winning 25-16, 25-12, 28-26.
The first set was tied seven times before Cleveland went from a 17-13 lead to a 21-14 lead behind two kills from Lylah Moreno and one each from Lauren Snippen and Madelyn del Greco, all seniors – conveniently set by fellow senior Marian Hatch.
The Storm never trailed in the second set, putting it away after a pair of wins from del Greco and a winner from Moreno.
Surprisingly, after this easy victory, the Storm fought back in the third set.
A 5-1 lead didn’t last long, and Sartans took the lead at 14-13, with the Storm staying close and leveling at 16, 18, 19, 20 and 21.
A service error from Sartan gave the Storm a 22-21 lead and a kill by junior Petra Fritz made it 23-21.
Each team got set points, only to see the team on the other side of the net tie the score at 25 and then 26-all.
Finally, a combo block from Moreno and Snippen brought the Storm to match point and an unforced error from the Sartans resulted in the sweep.
Statistics compiled by assistant coach Diana LaCour told the story of the victory: 10 kills from del Greco, nine from Fritz and eight from Moreno; Hatch had 38 assists, two shy of his team’s points tally.
Libero Aubrey Ortiz had 13 digs and Kelsey Heffner participated with three blocks.
Hatch, a six-rotation player, “injured her ankle (in a scrimmage) on Saturday,” Gomez noted, “so she was a little gimpy tonight. She really wanted to play badly.
No, Gomez was told, Hatch “played well”.
Hatch said she was cautious and about 80%, but, “I was, like, I can’t miss that first game.
“If we had gone to four (sets), I would have been totally ok. … It was tiring, but at the same time, it was in the moment. You don’t realize it before the game.
Despite 38 assists, she said: “It definitely could have been a lot better.”
She also hoped to serve better, having made four service errors against the Sartans.
On Thursday, the Storm improved to 2-0 after sweeping the visiting Los Lunas Tigres.
Rams 3, Sartans 0: Two nights later in the RAC, the Sartans again saved the best for last, losing 25-10, 25-12, 25-20.
Sophomore and six rotations Ceci Vance had 18 kills and 11 digs to lead the Rams to a sweep.
Also on the front line, Kiya Wilson had 11 kills, while Jenny Baker had 10 digs. “We were trailing 19-16; we went on a 9-1 run.
The Rams featured runs early and often: Wilson served the last 10 runs of an 11-0 run in the first set, and the Rams had two 7-0 runs in the second set.