VOLLEYBALL: Saline Opens SEC Season With Victory at Bedford

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Saline senior Emma Rigg led the Hornets with 15 kills.

Senior twin sisters Julia and Hannah Blaney are among the Hornet volleyball players have suffered heartbreaking losses at the hands of Bedford. 

"It's always good to beat Bedford, especially here in their own gym," Hannah said.

"They ended our season here two years ago," Julia said.

As four-year varsity players, they understand the Saline-Bedford volleyball rivalry better than most. And as ultra-fierce competitors, perhaps nobody relished the victory more than the Blaneys.

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Saline bested Bedford 3 games to 1, winning 25-20, 25-14, 22-25 and 25-16.

Senior Emma Rigg was a force at the net with 15 kills and four blocks.

Julia Blaney had a great all-around game with 10 kills, two blocks and 14 digs.

Bryn Batten also had six kills and two blocks. Sydney Baldwin had six kills.

Abby Zambeck had 18 assists and Laney Burns had 10.

Hannah Blaney had 13 digs, Megan O'Neil had 10 and Zambeck had eight.

In the opening game, Saline built a big lead and survived a late Bedford charge before finishing off the Mules on a great tip by Zambeck.

With Megan O'Neil at the service line, Saline went on an eight-point run to blow open a close game and give the Hornets a commanding 23-13 lead. Saline won 25-14.

A kill by Emma Rigg gave Saline a 16-10 lead in the third game, but Bedford bounced back to tie the score. Saline led 21-20 after a tip by Julia Blaney and then led 22-21 before the Mules rallied to win 25-20.

In the fourth game, after Bedford struck first, Saline went on a nine-point run with Zambeck at the service line. The run featured three kills by Batten, a smash by Julia Blaney and a diving dig by Hannah Blaney. The Hornets never let them back in the game and won 25-16.

Saline volleyball coach Emileen Palazzolo said winning at Bedford was "huge."

"They have such a tradition so it's a huge win for our program every time we can get a win from them," Palazzolo said.

She thought the team looked good for a group that's only had two in-gym practices.

"I didn't know how they were going to come out. I just hoped they'd play together. I think they just clicked and played for each other and they were just competitive," Palazzolo said.

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