MORRIS — Sandwich sophomore middle hitter Audrey Rome did not start Tuesday's volleyball match against Morris, but when she came off the bench, the 6-footer changed the flow.
Morris had difficulty dealing with Rome's length, and Sandwich came away with a 25-21, 25-20 Interstate Eight Conference victory.
"We definitely had trouble with their middle," Morris coach Taylor Lafond said. "But, we have to learn to take advantage of the times when a big middle is not on the floor, or attack the outside when she is. We were hitting right into her and she was sending it right back at us."
The first set was tied at 2 in the early going, but Rome delivered back-to-back solo blocks, then added a kill for a 5-2 Sandwich lead, with the Indians never relinquished. The lead extended to 17-11 after another kill by Rome before Kennedy Dransfeldt got one of her nine kills for Morris (4-9, 1-2) and Jada Less entered for Morris and went to the service line.
Less delivered three straight aces to make it 17-15, and a Sandwich hitting error drew the Redskins to within 17-16. They could not get any closer, however, as the team teams traded points until two straight Sandwich points made it 23-20. Layna Dunne got a kill for Morris to make it 23-21, but Sandwich ended it with two straight points.
"Jada Less did a great job serving," Lafond said. "She almost brought us all the way back."
Less finished with two digs and nine assists to go with her three aces, while Dransfeldt had two digs to go with her nine kills. Kaylie Adams had two kills, two digs and a block, while Dunne had three kills and six digs. Erika Halcomb added two kills as well.
Morris jumped out to a 6-2 lead early in the second set, but a pair of kills by Rome helped Sandwich pull to within 8-6. Sandwich tied it 12-12 on an ace by Olive Tornga and took the lead for good at 13-12 when Abby Ripsky and Jaylynn Vana combined for a block. A kill by Ripsky put the Indians ahead 14-12 and, a few points later, Vana served an ace for a 17-13 lead. Morris got to within 22-19 before kills by Rome, Vana and Sophia Datoli ended it.
"We had an off night tonight," Lafond said. "Our energy was low and we didn't communicate well. Then, when we didn't communicate, our energy went even lower. It was kind of a snowball effect.
"Erika Halcomb came up big for us with a couple of kills late. She is learning how to recognize the situation and figure out when to swing hard and when to go for the tip, which is nice to see. You have to be able to vary your attack depending on how the defense is set up, and she is learning how to read that."