For a good stretch in the middle of the first game both teams traded points, whether one at a time or each going on a run. Both teams had four-point runs before the score reached 15, and the Steamers started to pull away. Solid serving, well-placed kills, key blocks and, most importantly, communication on the court allowed Fulton to pull ahead and win the first match 25-17.
“The communication is good, because when we talk more we get up and then we get more excited and dominate more. We do better as a team,” junior Chelsea Lesniewski said.
“When we would go into huddles everyone would tell me where the openings were,” Leonard said as an example the communication. “Marla (Stoecker) told me right in the middle the tip was open, and then coach told me that line was open, so I knew where I could hit and where it would be open.”
The Steamers’ serving on the night was pivotal to their two-game sweep of the Fillies but easily overlooked as each girl went up to the service line with a plan and executed. Near the end of set, the Steamers got key aces from both of their younger players, Leonard and Averi Leitzen, as well as a handful from senior Olivia Edfors that began their run to victory.
Morrison got the drop on the Steamers in the Game 2, going up 4-1 early, and the Fillies were able to keep Fulton at arms length for much of the second set. Fulton fought back, though, muscling its way back into the game with good defense at the net and smart kills from Leonard and Lesniewski, who both spread out the court with their hits. Several digs and diving plays from everyone on the court, ranging from Leitzen to Beiermann to Ann Renkes, squelched any attempts by Morrison to gain too much momentum over Fulton, although the Fillies maintained a lead for much of Game 2.