Cleveland opened its season with a sweep of St. Pius in the Sartan Garden Tuesday evening.
After six service errors in the opening set, the Storm settled down, winning 25-16, 25-12, 28-26.
The first set was tied seven times before Cleveland advanced from a 17-13 edge to a 21-14 lead behind two kills from Lylah Moreno and one apiece from Lauren Snippen and Madelyn del Greco, all seniors — conveniently set by fellow senior Marian Hatch.
The Storm never trailed in the second set, putting it away after a pair of kills from del Greco and a winner by Moreno.
Surprisingly, after that easy win, the Storm had a battle on their hands in the third set.
A 5-1 lead didn’t last long, and the Sartans grabbed the lead at 14-13, with the Storm staying close and tying it at 16-, 18-, 19-, 20- and 21-all.
A Sartan service error gave the Storm a 22-21 lead and a kill by junior Petra Fritz made it 23-21.
Each team got to set points, only to see the team on the other side of the net knot the score at 25- and then 26-all.
Finally, a combo block by Moreno and Snippen put the Storm at match point and an unforced error by the Sartans resulted in the sweep.
Stats compiled by assistant coach Diana LaCour told the story behind the victory: 10 kills from del Greco, nine by Fritz and eight from Moreno; Hatch had 38 assists, just two fewer than the total points amassed by her team.
Libero Aubrey Ortiz had 13 digs and Kelsey Heffner chipped in with three blocks.
Hatch, a six-rotation player, “went down with a ankle injury (in a scrimmage) Saturday,” Gomez noted, “so she was a little gimpy tonight. She wanted to play real badly.”
No, Gomez was told, Hatch played “goodly.”
Hatch said she was cautious and at about 80 percent, but, “I was, like, I can’t miss that first game.
“If we went to four (sets), I would have been totally fine with it. … It was tiring, but at the same time, it was in the moment. You kinda not notice till after the game.”
Despite 38 assists, she said, “It definitely could have been a lot better.”
She also hoped to serve better, after committing four service errors vs. the Sartans.
On Thursday, the Storm improved to 2-0 after sweeping the visiting Los Lunas Tigers.
Rams 3, Sartans 0: Two nights later in the RAC, the Sartans again saved their best for last, falling 25-10, 25-12, 25-20.
Sophomore and six-rotation player Ceci Vance had 18 kills and 11 digs to lead the Rams to a sweep.
Also on the front line, Kiya Wilson had 11 kills, while Jenny Baker had 10 digs.”We were down (in the third set) when I called a timeout,” coach Toby Manzanares said. “We were down 19-16; we went on a 9-1 run.”
Runs were featured early and often by the Rams: Wilson served up the final 10 points of an 11-0 run in the first set, and the Rams had two 7-0 runs in the second set.