14s Purple Qualifier 3 Notes:
Match 1 versus 900 square feet
The third qualifier for the starlings had them as the second seed playing at CSU Dominguez Hills. Very nice facility: 4 courts with plenty of room and seating around the edges and very good lighting. Very rarely did we see a ball from the next court interrupt the game.
First match was against 4th seed 900 square feet. It took a while to figure out that 900SQFT is the area of ½ the court. This team, at warm-up, appeared to the stiffest competition, especially with 900SQFT coming off a victory from qualifier 2. The Starlings, apparently unfazed by the 4:30 departure time, came out firing on all cylinders during the first game. Strong service runs by Jazmine Stenger-Smith, Brooke Nelepovitz and Michaela Metcalf combined for 7 of the 9 total Starlings aces lead the way. A key play, with the Starlings showing great hustle had Brooke diving to make a pass off a tough hit with the pass heading towards the back of the starlings service area, Michaela followed up with a great pass that directed the ball back towards the playing area and a nice play by Allie Sliva got the ball over the net. 900SQFT was unable to return the pass for a nice point for the Starlings. Starlings won 25-17 with only 3 service errors. Game 2 feature 4 kills by Michaela Metcalf, strong defensive play by Grace Tesdall and Hannah Farmer and a spinning kill by Bridget Ingle where the ball traveled along on top of the net before settling in on the other side of the court untouched. Starlings went on to win 25-18 with 4 services errors.
Second Match was against 3rd seed Triumph. During the first game, the starlings struggled a bit in passing and hitting, committing enough unforced errors and 6 service errors. Some key aces by Becca Stoffel and Bridget Ingle and kills by Michaela Metcalf and Jazmine Stenger-Smith rounded out a nail-biting 25-23 victory. The Starlings played similarly in Game 2 and there was a bit of a distraction due to a urinary emergency that had to be held in. We couldn’t sub anyone out, so the starlings played under a lot of stress. Strong serving by Becca Stoffel, Jazmine Stenger-Smith and Allie Sliva rounded out a gut-it-out 25-22 victory.
Observing 900SQFT during their other matches demonstrated how tough the Starlings played them in game 1. Tough serving by the Starlings did not allow 900SQFT to run the offense they were putting up against the other teams.
The Third and final match was against SMBC. The first game was a total team victory for the starlings. Michaela Metcalf with 4 serves, 2 aces and 2 kills; Becca Stoffel with 4 serves and 1 kill; Grace Tesdall with solid defense and passing to the setter allowing the kills to occur, Jazmine Stenger-Smith with 7 serves and 2 kills.; Hannah Farmer with good defense and a diving pass over the net for a kill; Brooke Nelepovitz with 5 serves; Allie Sliva with 3 serves and 2 kills and Bridget Ingle (fighting off a sore ankle) with some solid blocking and a key kill rounded out the Starlings 25-15 victory with only 2 service errors. Since SMBC won their first match in 3 games; and 900SQFT finishing 2-1 with 4 game wins and 2 game losses, this game 1 victory in match 3 guaranteed a first place finish for the Starlings. However, the Purples were simply told: “Win this next game”. The Starlings served more aggressively now that SMBC seemed to be struggling to find energy. Again the Starlings played solid all around. Strong defense again by Hannah Farmer and Grace Tesdall, key passing and hustle by Allie Sliva, solid serving by Becca Stoffel and Bridget Ingle, a 6-point service run by Jazmine Stenger-Smith, 6 serves and 4 aces by Brooke Nelepovitz and the Michaela “The Kill Machine” Metcalf with 5 kills (at least 3 of which were untouched) rounded off a very solid 25-10 starlings victory. 6 of the 10 points were off Starlings service errors, but the coaches were untroubled as the Starlings had a commanding lead throughout the final game.
Now we know what qualifier 3 has brought: A Division 9 start for Mandatory 1.