MOUNT VERNON — The Mount Vernon Yellow Jackets boys volleyball team put the pedal to the metal and won in three-straight sets over visiting Dublin Jerome in the Jackets’ first time back on their home floor since the season opener.
“The game plan, as it always has been, is just be aggressive,” Mount Vernon coach Chad Sivewright said.
The Jackets and Celtics started out neck-and-neck, with Mount Vernon pulling ahead to a 10-6 lead on a Corrick Croswell kill, but the lead was cut down to 10-9. Four-straight Jacket points, capped by a Landon Ewers block had the home team ahead 14-9. For the rest of the set, the Jackets’ lead was never less than three, but never more than five. A Spencer Stanley ended the set 25-21.
“It was just small things that didn’t really allow us to pull away, plus I think it was the first set being at home in front of our crowd for kind of the first time,” Sivewright said. “I think that was a little bit of it. I could tell from what they usually do.”
After squeaking out the first set, the Jackets fell behind quickly in the second set. An error put them in a 5-3 hole and every other point was a Jacket error to keep them at bay. A Tyler Nutting kill put Jerome ahead 8-6, but then Mount Vernon picked up its pace, tying the game at 8. The two teams tied four more times before a Ewers ace set the Jackets ahead 13-12 with a lead they never relinquished. Mount Vernon was able to pull away in the second set and a Croswell kill, followed by a Ewers block ended the set 25-17 to give the home team a 2-0 lead.
The Jackets started the third set at a torrid pace and it turned into the Croswell and Brandon Grabow show, with three Grabow aces and two Croswell kills setting the Jackets ahead 6-0. Mount Vernon was in control early, but the Celtics started clawing their way back. On one of the longest points of the night, Nutting tipped the ball to end the point and tie the game at 12, but that was as close as the visitors got.
“They kind of backed off a little bit,” Sivewright said of allowing Jerome to climb back. “We really try to focus on that in practice where we don’t want that to happen and a team can sneak back in.”
Croswell got a kill for the next point and Mount Vernon was off to the races again. With the lead at 18-16, the Jackets rattled off six points in a row to pull ahead 24-16. After a Celtic point, Croswell ended the match with another kill, 25-17.
Croswell had a stellar game at the net with 10 kills, second to Stanley’s 11 kills and two blocks. The pair each had an ace and Croswell had nine digs and Stanley chipped in six. Grabow led the way at the service line with three aces, to go along with his 30 assists and four kills. Ewers had an ace, six kills, three blocks and three assists, while Ryan McManaway chipped in two kills. Libero Jordan Hoag played well in the back row with 11 digs.
Friday was only Mount Vernon’s second time playing at the Hive this season, with the first coming in a showcase to open the season in March. The Jackets do not return home until May 9 for Senior Night against DeSales. In the meantime, they take their 9-1 record and fourth overall rank in Ohio on the road April 27 for the Olentangy Orange Quad, starting at 10 a.m.
“Every time we play, it seems like we’re getting better,” Sivewright said. “It’s just really tough with the stretches between matches. Staying focused in practice is the biggest thing.”