Holy Angels sweeps final two sets to upend Pascack Hills by J.C. Baumuller special to northjerseysports.com

DEMAREST – Holy Angels shook off a lackluster first set to come from behind to defeat Pascack Hills, 2-1 (18-25, 25-20, 25-11) in Big North Conference volleyball on Tuesday night. The Angels improved to 9-3, while the Cowgirls fell to 10-3.

“This is not the first time we had to play a third set,” said Angels junior Jalen Wynn. “I knew we were going to play hard because they’re a very good team. And we took this win.”

“When we had that really long rally – that was a minute or two and we won that point – to me that was the turning point for us,” added Angels coach Colleen Surovich. “I had every confidence that we would win the second game and we would go to a third. At that point it’s every man for himself because we are both very good teams.”

The Angels led 12-10 in that second set when the longest point of the match began. Back and forth went the ball as each team passed and killed the ball superbly on one side of the net and made spectacular defensive plays to keep the ball alive on the other side of the net. Angels junior Angelina Busetto ended the point with a thunderous kill.

The Cowgirls fought back to close the gap to 18-17 on a blast by senior Erin Hedrick but Wynn countered by tallying three of the next four points on kills. Another kill by Wynn made it 23-20 and she closed out the second set with a pair of service winners. She finished the game with eight kills and the match with 13.
The Cowgirls opened the third set with a 4-0 advantage thanks to a pair of kills by Hedrick sandwiched around two Angels attack errors. Wynn tied the game at 6-6 with a well-placed hit and the Angels never trailed again.

Busetto gave the Angels a 10-7 lead and Wynn stepped to the service line. She proceeded to reel off 11 consecutive service winners to boost the lead to 21-7.

“I just wanted to keep it in play,” said Wynn. “Once I had a couple I wanted to go on a run and hit hard.”

“Jalen has really come into her own this season,” Surovich said. “She’s been strong ever since she’s been a freshman but this year we had some things going on with the team but when it all blew over she came out on top and she’s really been crucial to us.”

Fittingly, Wynn closed out the match with a kill.

“I thought our energy and momentum was very high,” she said. “Once we were up by five I knew we had to keep pushing. Our energy was all the way up there and I knew nothing could stop us.”

“I think what Pascack Hills struggled with in the third game is what we struggled with in the first game, which was our passing,” said Surovich. “We work a lot with serving and passing, passing and serving. The girls will tell you we work on that every day. We have to serve tough and we have to pass strong.”

The Cowgirls had taken the lead for good, 2-1, in the first set on a kill by Hedrick. It was one of nine kills in the set and Hedrick would finish with 20 in the match.

The Angels fought back in a closely contested second set to even the match. Wynn tied the game 8-8 with a kill and a Cowgirls attack error gave Holy Angels a lead they would not relinquish.

While Wynn led the team in scoring no fewer than nine Angels scored at least one point in the match. Sophomore Fallon Oddo contributed four kills and Busetto and senior Eva Cami tallied three apiece.

“I believe that all of us have a fair shot at this team and all of us contribute to our team,” Wynn said. “We’re all in there for each other. It’s not just one person who is holding the team – it’s all of us. It’s very team-oriented.”

“I always tell the girls it’s never just a one-man show,” Surovich said. “We play as a team. When we show them the stats it’s not one girl with 20 kills. It’s one with one, another with eight, another with five. I tell them what makes them difficult to play is that we have weapons in all positions.”

The future is bright for the Angels because in addition to balanced scoring the team is filled with underclassmen.

“We all started as freshmen together,” Wynn said, “and now we’re coming up as juniors and we’ll be seniors next year, our last year. So I think it’s very exciting for us. Our season is off to a great start and I’m really excited to see what it comes out to.”

“We actually have four seniors: one is hurt, two play all the time,” added Surovich. “But the majority of our girls are sophomores and juniors. This group played together all last year. Last year they were finding themselves, finding what worked and playing together. This year it’s brewing and now it’s really coming together. We’re dealing with some injuries. Two girls who play are out. The girls are overcoming that really nicely.

“I told the girls this is nothing to sneeze at. Pascack Hills is incredible. Lindsay [Runge] is a good coach and they’re a really strong, solid team. This is a big win.”