Makayla Sypherd came out on fire Aug. 22 in Woodridge's season opener at Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy. The senior outside hitter gave the Bulldogs a 4-0 lead with four aces to start the match.
Unfortunately, the senior-laden Royals recovered and wound up defeating Woodridge 25-17, 25-12, 25-16.
"We actually took an early lead in the third set, too," said Bulldogs head coach Melinda Hosford. "Then in both sets, we battled back and forth with them for quite some time before they just stepped on the gas and ran over us.
"In the second set we were not at all ready; we were down 11-1 before the girls actually started playing. By that time, though, we were too far behind to come back."
CVCA's experience was just a little too much for the visitors to overcome.
"They hit a lot of spots where we weren't," Hosford said. "We also weren't quick enough on our blocks."
To go along with her four aces Sypherd had four kills, four blocks and four digs. "Makayla was diving everywhere," the coach said.
Sypherd's classmate and fellow outside hitter Breanna Arnett suffered a knuckle injury early on but persevered to accumulate six kills, five digs and two blocks.
"We pulled Breanna from the match during the third set because her knuckle got so swollen," said Hosford.
Another significant contributor for Woodridge was junior setter Kaela Folatko, who totaled 11 assists and pair of blocks.
"Kaela was all over the court," Hosford said. "She stubbed a finger on a block toward the end, but she hustled without complaint for every ball the rest of the way. She's a great worker."
Middle hitters Celena Whitely, a junior, and Hannah Fitzsimmons, a senior, played well, too. Both had four blocks. Whitely also had five attacks, Fitzsimmons two.
"Both Celena and Hannah get a lot of blocks and provide a lot of quickness at the net," Hosford said.
Junior defensive specialist Rachel DeMaio had 11 clean service receptions, hitting the floor several times to get hard digs.
"Overall, I was happy with our performance," Hosford said, "but it surely let us know that there are some things that we need to improve on."
Woodridge was scheduled to host Portage Trail Conference Metro Division rival Ravenna Aug. 25, but the result was not available at press time.
The Bulldogs travel to Streetsboro, another PTC Metro foe, Aug. 30. The match begins at 7 p.m.