It took the Marian Fillies awhile to get things going on Tuesday night in their first game of the season against rival Nativity. A first set loss to the Green Wave was not only a wake up call to arguably the most talented team in the Schuylkill League, but also served as motivation to elevate their play.
Unfortunately, for Nativity that's exactly what the Fillies did. After dropping the first set 25-22, they bounced back to win the next three 25-20, 25-10, and 25-16 to capture the Schuylkill League Division 4 victory.
A main stay at Marian over the last four years, Mary Kate Sherkness, who surely possess the most power in the Schuylkill League this season took sometime to get going along with her sophomore set-up partner Abby O'Donnell. O'Donnell and Sherkness along with the entire Fillies squad struggled in the first set committing 18 errors, including seven service errors. Nativity took advantage of the Fillies inconsistent play in the first, showing Marian they were there to compete.
"Pre game jitters, nerves, I don't know what it was, but we were out of sync," said Marian coach John Fallabel. "Nativity only had one kill in the entire first set, so most of their points came off of our errors. It just wasn't good volleyball at all. We're nowhere where we need to be, but it's September and it's early. We'll work hard and get to where we be and we know that."
The Fillies weren't challenged again until the fourth set when they saw themselves down 6-3. Three aces in a row by Nativity junior Jessica Jones gave the Green Wave the three-point advantage.
Marian bounced back yet again, taking the lead 7-6 with back-to-back kills by Grace Boyle and Sophie Myers. The two would teams would then exchange leads until Sherkness and crew took over. Back-to-back kills by Sherkness and three aces in a row by Lauren Nietz gave the Fillies the lead 16-13 and the Fillies never looked back.
"It's always tough coming out for the first game of the season," said Sherkness. "We know once we switched sides that we had to bare down and come back and play better in the next three sets and that's what we did. I always tell myself that I have a great team behind me and that whatever adversity we may face throughout a match that we can always come back at anytime."
Sophomore Abby O'Donnell once again didn't disappoint for the Fillies. She used the big stage against rival Nativity to collect 40 assists on the night, including her 1,000th career assist. It was evident when watching the Fillies play that O'Donnell serves as the catalyst for the Fillies offense. Once O'Donnell got going on Tuesday night so did the Fillies.
"Abby just does a nice job and she is a very nice setter, and maybe our best ever here," said Fallabel. "She's getting better and better all the time and we run a lot of our offense through her."
O'Donnell was also excited to reach the 1,000 assist plateau and most importantly that the Fillies got the win.
"I didn't expect to get my 1,000th, it's such a great honor," said O'Donnell. "I couldn't do it with my teammates, I don't get assists if my hitters don't get kills. I'm also happy we got this win tonight. Our team must have been a little nervous tonight, but we all huddled together, calmed eachother down, and came back even stronger in the next three sets."