Spartans serve up a victory

Laura Bartunek elevates to make a block against Nathan Hale Wednesday night. - RYAN SCHIERLING/Staff Photo
Laura Bartunek elevates to make a block against Nathan Hale Wednesday night.
— image credit: RYAN SCHIERLING/Staff Photo

Following Wednesday’s 15-10, 15-8, 15-8 victory over visiting Nathan Hale, volleyball coach Julie Miller began looking forward to post-season play.

With two games remaining against Ingraham and Cleveland – teams the Spartans handled easily during their first meeting – Miller anticipates a 10-0 record in Metro League Division B competition. That means that Bainbridge would begin play in the Metro tournament on Oct. 24 against the Division A fourth-place team, most likely Eastside Catholic, a team the Spartans thumped in their season opener.

With the top seven teams from the Metro tournament and the Kingco League’s top five qualifying for District, Bainbridge is a virtual lock to advance at least that far. And Miller likes her team’s chances of reaching the state tournament for the first time in her five-year tenure because District has five allotments.

Although the Spartans are now at full strength for the first time in several weeks and even deeper with the addition of freshman setter Ashley Bice, Miller sounds one cautionary note.

“We need to cut down on our unforced errors,” she said. “We can’t afford to make some of the mistakes we did tonight against the good teams.”

The occasionally mistake-prone Spartans began slowly in each game before putting together substantial strings of consecutive serves to pull away.

In the first game, Caiti Kruse’s serving propelled the team from a 5-5 tie to an 11-5 advantage, keyed by an Alison Theis kill and two blocks by Laura Bartunek. After the Raiders narrowed the gap to 12-10 behind a strong server of their own, the Spartans took the final three points with Bartunek serving, as a pair of Hale mishits were sandwiched around an ace.

In the second game, Bainbridge extended a 5-4 lead to 9-4 with Maggie Fick serving four points in a row. After Hale closed to 11-8, Theis served out the match as Bartunek accounted for three of the final four points with two kills and a block.

In the third game, Kruse and Fick each served four-point strings as the Spartans extended a 3-3 tie to an 11-4 lead with another Bartunek kill climaxing the run.

Theis nearly served out the match as Bice and Bartunek both had kills. But the Raiders somehow returned Michelle Miller’s would-be match-point kill – perhaps the hardest-hit ball of the entire match – and made a brief run to narrow the score to 14-8. But Alice Russell’s kill shot finally ended the match.

Bartunek led the team with nine kills, Miller added six and Russell had five. Carlie Miller had nine assists, while Bice had eight.

The team travels to Ingraham on Monday before hosting Cleveland on Wednesday in its final home match.

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