The Morning Journal (Lorain, OH)

Sailors stay perfect with win over Panthers

Vermilion downs EC in straight sets to move to 4-0 on the season

- By Michael Fitzpatric­k MFitzpatri­ck@morningjou­rnal. com

Vermilion Sailors stoked a hot start with an efficient, impressive win over Elyria Catholic.

The Vermilion Sailors volleyball program is not one that is steeped in success. The school has not won a single conference or league championsh­ip in that sport. A point that is accentuate­d by the empty banner for volleyball that hangs in the school gymnasium.

That could be changing in 2021.

The Sailors continued their hot start on Aug. 28 with an efficient and impressive win over previously undefeated Elyria Catholic.

The Sailors won in three sets, 25-16, 25-16, and 25-11 to as they carved up a Panthers squad that entered the contest 3-0 as well.

It’s been quite the week for the Sailors, who were a perfect 4-0, which is also their season record. What may turn out to be their signature win of the season came in the season’s second game when they came back to beat defending state champion Huron on the road after losing the first two sets before winning the next three.

There was no such drama against Elyria Catholic as the Sailors used a strong effort from its front line to win easily.

Junior Maddie Stout recorded 10 kills, junior Gracie Starcovic and senior Jenna Peters added nine each and junior Kaitlin Colahan registered eight kills to lead the way for the Sailors who look like an athletic squad that has played a lot of volleyball together, which is what they are.

This is Vermilion coach Kara Coffman’s second year. She returned her entire starting team from a year ago and chemistry has developed among the group, which was evident in the win over Elyria Catholic.

“We’ve been working hard all summer so it’s nice to see all of our hard work paying off,” Coffman said after the win over the Panthers. “We’re definitely off to a strong start, but we are staying focused on our end goal which is to get a conference championsh­ip. Take it each day, one game at a time. After we beat Huron I said now we’ve got to focus on Monroevill­e.”

Stout said there is no doubt about what the team goal is for the season. The empty banner is a constant reminder of that goal.

“No teams have won, like ever, so our banner is blank. Our goal this year is to get up there,” said Stout.

The Sailors are tall, athletic, and love to stay in the gym, according to Coffman.

“I’d say we have a very dynamic, versatile team. I told the girls it’s amazing we have so much depth this year,” Coffman said. “Everyone is super strong and focused and eager and wanting to be in the gym as long as possible. Practice is over and they’ll be like, ‘Can I stay a little longer?’”

Elyria Catholic coach Barb Schuckman came away impressed with the Sailors after watching her

team get swept out of Vermilion gym.

“Hats of to Vermilion. They are an incredibly good team. They had a lot of offensive weapons. They’re incredibly scrappy. They served well. We didn’t

pass well. We just didn’t put the ball down,” Shuckman said.

The Panthers, who dropped to 3-1 on the season, were led up front by senior Madison Thompson with three kills while sophomore

Isabelle Niederst finished with two kills.

Gabby Griffin and Ana McDonald both collected four assists; Maddyn Corcoran came up with eight digs and Griffin with four for the Panthers.

 ?? JENNIFER FORBUS — FOR THE MORNING JOURNAL ?? Panthers Peyton Essenmache­r and Isabelle Niederst create a wall of defense against the shot from Sailor Kaitlin Colahan.
JENNIFER FORBUS — FOR THE MORNING JOURNAL Panthers Peyton Essenmache­r and Isabelle Niederst create a wall of defense against the shot from Sailor Kaitlin Colahan.
 ?? JENNIFER FORBUS — FOR THE MORNING JOURNAL ?? The Vermilion squad celebrates a point against the Elyria Catholic Panthers.
JENNIFER FORBUS — FOR THE MORNING JOURNAL The Vermilion squad celebrates a point against the Elyria Catholic Panthers.
 ?? JENNIFER FORBUS — FOR THE MORNING JOURNAL ?? Panther Lesley Sanchez hits the ball across the net as Sailor Audrey Peterson goes up to block.
JENNIFER FORBUS — FOR THE MORNING JOURNAL Panther Lesley Sanchez hits the ball across the net as Sailor Audrey Peterson goes up to block.

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