Lady Trojans swept out of district by Carney
with the Forest Park volleyball team had any illusions about what they were up against heading into their Division 4 District 99 semifinal match against Carney-Nadeau.
The defending district and regional champion Wolves went unbeaten in the Skyline Central Conference this season and had defeated the Lady Trojans 3-1 in Crystal Falls in late August. So when the teams squared off at Carney High School on Nov. 6, the Lady Trojans knew they would have to play their best match of the season to advance to the district final.
Unfortunately for Forest Park, the Wolves proved to be too much to handle as C-N seized control early and never let up in sweeping the Lady Trojans 25-17, 25-16, 25-5.
“To be the best, you’ve got to beat the best,” FP coach Ana Valesano said. “They’re a good team, so we knew going into this game it would be difficult.”
“All night, we were in our own head,” said senior Mercedes Simmons, who was named the conference player of the year by league coaches. “We thought we couldn’t keep up with them and I think that’s what put us down in the first place. You have to have a lot of confidence in yourself and believe you can do it and then you can stick with them.”
Easier said than done, certainly. The Wolves are a complete team with no discernable weakness. They have three powerful hitters, excellent servers across the board, a solid back row and an athletic setter. With all that talent in tow, C-N was able to push the Lady Trojans back on their heels almost from the start.
The Wolves went on a 9-0 run in the opening set to take an 18-8 lead. Junior Taylor Kedsch ran off eight service points in a row, while senior outside hitter Sandra Boulton nailed two kills during the surge.
The Lady Trojans fought back to within 19-15 on an ace by Caitlyn Bloomburg and a block by Simmons, but C-N responded with six of the final eight points to take a one-set lead.