FREDERICK — Brooklin LeBon had heard all the talk. The Tri-Valley League, depending on who you listened to or what you read, was supposed to come down to three teams, and Frederick was not among them.
But early in the season, the Warriors are telling everyone they might want to reconsider. And they’re doing it on the court.
After taking the highly touted Wizards of Windsor to five sets earlier this week, Frederick claimed victory against another one of the favorites, dispatching of Mead 3-1 on Thursday at the FHS gym. With the kickoff to the pro football season, there was reason to stay home — yet the environment was electric as the host Warriors took control in the second set and never looked back.
“We practice with motivation, and we practice with the idea that we’re said to be underdogs,” said LeBon, one of eight seniors on the varsity squad. “I look at the paper, and I see that Mead thinks Roosevelt and Windsor are their only competition. I told my team, ‘Look, this is our motivation to prove ourselves, right here.’ As team captain, I put myself out there and said let’s prove ourselves, and we did tonight.”
The 17-25, 25-13, 25-21, 25-23 victory for Frederick came on the heels of two lengthy matches to open the season, including the one against Windsor in which coach Jamie Bradt’s team fell behind 2-0 with a slow start. It was a start they knew they needed to avoid against the Mavericks, and they were successful with a dominating second set. An eight-point run early in that set was spurred on by an array of Mead attack errors (the Mavs committed 10 in that set alone and 25 total).
For Bradt, it was important to respond after MHS took the first set.
“We went into this game saying we can’t (lose the first two),” she said, her team moving to 2-1 on the season. “We needed to start off strong and not get behind, just stick with them.
“If we lose the first one, who cares? Just mental stuff with us; we just really had to be ourselves mentally and keep that going, and we were fine.”
Behind LeBon’s four aces, the Warriors did a lot of damage in the service game, collecting 13 aces overall. The Mead back line struggled to pass effectively, too, disrupting a typically reliable attack.
LeBon and Bradt both said the service game for the Warriors will be an area teams will have to contend with. Codi Whitmer, Jessica Wedel, and Abbi Arneson, along with a few others, form a solid bunch of jump-servers, and they set the bar Thursday.
“Against Windsor, we missed a lot of our serves, so we came in saying we can’t do that again, that’s what made us lose that game,” said LeBon, who also had nine kills and 16 digs. “We went in, worked on serving and serve-receive, and I think that made us more consistent. We’re definitely a serving team, now.”
“(Serving) is one of our bright spots. Our goal is to get everybody jump-serving … if we need to be the strongest-serving team in the league to win games, that’s what we need to do,” Bradt added.
Mead fell to 1-1, and coach Rachael Ayers saw some surprising flaws in the 6-2 offense they are trying to establish. While trying to open up the floor for Morgan Brim, Cassie Hedger is poised to become the secondary setter. But both Brim and Hedger were forced to make some tough plays all night.
Brim finished with 15 assists, Hedger 11.
“Our lack of discipline on serve-receive killed us, and we have to pass better or we can’t win games,” said Ayers, whose team was led by Maddie Uilk’s 11 kills. “Maybe (the 6-2 is a growth process), but we played in the 6-2 all summer long. We should have some of those kinks out, and we should be further than we are. We just didn’t handle the pressure very well.”
The teams will meet again on Oct. 1 at Mead.
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Frederick 3, Mead 1
At Frederick HS
Mead (1-1, 1-1) 25 13 21 23
Frederick (2-1, 1-1) 17 25 25 25
Kills — Mead: Maddie Uilk 11, Makayla Martinez 9, Allison Majerus 6; Frederick: Brooklin LeBon 9, MaKenzie DiGesualdo 4.
Blocks — Mead: Not available; Frederick: Abbi Arnenson 9, Alexis Dominguez 8.
Assists — Mead: Morgan Brim 15, Cassie Hedger 11; Frederick: Not available.
Aces — Mead: Hedger 2, Kailey Klibbe 2, Ashley Rayhill 2; Frederick: LeBon 4, DiGesualdo 2.
Digs — Mead: Klibbe 20, Majerus 10; Frederick: Veronica Flores 21, LeBon 16, Jessica Wedel 15.