VOLLEYBALL: Saline Makes Quickwork of Wayne Memorial to Open Playoffs

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Despite missing their "towers of power," Saline dispatched Wayne Memorial in straight sets as the MHSAA Division 1 volleyball tournament opened at Bedford Tuesday. Saline won 25-6, 25-7 and 25-9.

Saline will face Belleville in the district semifinal at 7 p.m., Thursday. Lincoln plays Bedford in the other semifinal. The district final is set for 5 p.m. Saturday.

(PHOTO GALLERY HERE)

Saline won despite playing without Mallory Bohl (injured) and Catherine Flaharty (ill), their tallest hitters/blockers.

Coach Emileen Palazzolo said the team hoped to have Bohl back later this week - hopefully in time for a championship should the Hornets get past Belleville. Flaharty and another player out with an illness might not be ready to play until next week. So, as Palazzolo's father, Joe Palka says when a Hornet football player is injured, it's "next man up."

"We're working with a different lineup with a few other players at other positions, but it's good to see other girls step up," Palazzolo said. "We had a couple girls who played on JV all year get time in today. That's good to see, because we might need them Thursday. We're all about having that next man jumping in and doing the job."

Clara Cherry and Allie Smith contributed with kills and aces  Tuesday.

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Moments into Tuesday's affair, it was clear Wayne Memorial was no match for Saline. Anna Hesse opened the game with a spike for a point and Laney Burns followed with an ace. After a Memorial point, Hesse found the floor with another spike. The Hornets were up 3-1 when Megan O'Neil stepped up to serve. When she was done serving, Saline led 18-2. Liz Vance had three kills and Molly Rigg and Marie Laurio had two kills during the run. O'Neill had four aces during the run.

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Down the stretch, Vance, Beth Ann Ford and Hesse had kills and Cazzie Smith had two aces, including the set-point, as Saline won 25-6.

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The Hornets were almost as dominant in the second set, which opened in a familiar fashion. Hesse started things with a kill. Then Laney Burns served two aces. Saline led 3-0.

Up 4-2, Laurio had another kill to start a rally. With Vance serving (including two aces), Saline went on a seven-point run. Laurio had three kills on the run. Ford and Cherry also scored points for Saline. Up 12-4, Allie Smith entered the game and served three aces to make it 16-4. Olivia Behen served an ace, Laurio had a kill and Hesse finished the set with a slam to the back court. 

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The third set opened with Burns serving an ace. Tied 1-1, O'Neil stepped up to serve for another rally.  She served four aces during an 11-point rally as Saline took a 12-1 lead. Laurio had two kills and Rigg had one during the rally.

Later in the context, Cazzie Smith served two aces, Hesse had two kills and Vance had a kill as a five-point run lifted Saline to a 20-6 lead. The Hornets finished strong with two kills by Vance, a kill by Laurio and then an ace by O'Neil.

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