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The Suburbanite
  • Jackson volleyball wins despite not playing A-game

  • Jackson’s girls didn’t bring their A game against Mayfield in Wednesday’s Hudson regional volleyball semifinal, but they didn’t need to. The Polar Bears rolled in three games to reach Saturday’s regional final against the host Explorers.
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  • At 11-15, the Mayfield Wildcats were the Cinderella team at the Hudson Division I regional volleyball tournament.
    In Wednesday night’s first semifinal, Jackson made sure the clock finally struck midnight.
    Led by outside hitters Stephanie Bailey and Brooke Bailey, middles Jen Slogar and Emily Coleman, setter Kelly Klimo and the serving of Rachel Seifert and Olivia Zanolli, the Polar Bears rolled over the ‘Cats 25-18, 25-16, 25-18.
    Now 24-3, Jackson will play Hudson, a winner over Wadsworth in Wednesday’s other semifinal, at 2 p.m. Saturday for the regional championship and a berth in next week’s state tournament in Dayton.
    The Polar Bears’ experience, height and talent was the difference on a night when the state’s fifth-ranked team didn’t play close to its potential.
    “The whole game was just OK,” Slogar said. “We know what we have to do to fix it. We have to go to practice and get things ironed out for Saturday.”
    Bailey (6-foot-2), Stephanie Spencer (6-0), Slogar (6-0) and Coleman (5-11) made a formidable front line that Mayfield never quite was able to hit through. Maybe it was nerves as it was the first time the Wildcats had made the regional in 35 years. This is Jackson’s fourth straight regional appearance.
    “We knew we had a tough match. Jackson’s been here before,” Mayfield coach Rosella Glodkowski said. “We knew what we were getting into.
    “When you have that much height, it makes a difference.”
    A kill by Spencer on the night’s first point and three strong service points by Zanolli gave Jackson the start it needed. It never trailed in the first game as Spencer had five of her 11 kills and five digs. Seifert had three of her game-high 18 service points in a late flurry to take the first game.
    The next two games weren’t as Polar Bear-dominant. Mayfield led briefly in both, but couldn’t score more than two points on its attack in either as Jackson stayed steady, if unspectacular, to the end.
    “We did some good things at times, but we just couldn’t put it together in a run of points,” Jackson coach Jeff Walck said.
    He was right. Jackson had two spurts of three points to win Game 1, and one of three points in the other two.
    Zanolli had 17 service points to back Seifert’s effort. Bailey had a dozen kills to team with Spencer on the wings and Klimo had 32 assists and some nice play at the net. Overall, though, Walck wasn’t too impressed with his team’s offense.
    Page 2 of 2 - “I don’t think we serve-received as well as we normally do,” he said. “We certainly didn’t serve very well tonight. I thought we served a lot of lollipops, which is uncharacteristic of my team.
    “And I thought we didn’t attack the ball very well from the middle and outside. That’s something we normally do.”
    But Walck wasn’t totally down. His coaching staff reminded him they are playing in a regional final for the third straight year.
    “If there are 200 teams in Division I and we’re in the elite eight, and we didn’t play our best game in the sweet 16, I should be thankful, not angry,” he said. “I should be thankful.”
    Reach Jim at 330-580-8336
    or jim.thomas@cantonrep.com
    On Twitter: @jthomasREP