JACKSON TWP.: Sophomore Brooke Bailey and junior Stephanie Spencer combine to form a potent duo at the net for the Jackson volleyball team.
Bailey and Spencer have given many teams fits this year with their spikes and blocks.
They were North Canton Hoover’s problem Tuesday when the duo combined for 48 kills to lead Jackson to a three sets to one win (26-24, 25-16, 29-31, 25-16).
Bailey and Spencer both had 24 kills to guide the Polar Bears (6-1, 4-0) over the Vikings (7-3, 3-1) in a Federal League match.
“This felt really good,” said Bailey, a 6-foot-2 Ohio State recruit. “The feeling is unreal because we were so excited and nervous before the game, and then we had to remind ourselves that it is like any other game and we had to play like normal.”
Bailey and Spencer are two of six returning letter winners from last year’s Jackson team that was the Division I state runner-up and finished with a 28-2 overall record and a 12-0 mark in the Federal League. The Polar Bears have won the past two Federal League titles after the Vikings won the previous two.
“There is a lot of pressure,” said Spencer, who is 6-foot-1. “I didn’t realize how much there would be coming into it. We came off a great season and we were the young ones on the team, so we didn’t know how much pressure there actually would be. There is a lot of pressure to keep this title [in the Federal League].”
Bailey and Spencer were key for Jackson, but so was the play of its other players.
“We wouldn’t be able to hit the ball if we didn’t have amazing passers like Kate [Regas], Rachel [Seifert], Kelly [Klimo] and Olivia [Zanolli],” Bailey said. “They make Steph [Spencer], Emily [Coleman], Jen [Slogar], Demi [Edwards] and I look good.”
Regas and Seifert are 5-foot-7 seniors who are also returning letter winners along with 6-foot senior Slogar and 5-6 sophomore Klimo. Zanolli had 18 service points Tuesday. Klimo added 58 assists, Seifert had 16 digs, and Slogar had five blocks.
“I think these kids need to learn how to play together more,” Jackson coach Jeff Walck said. “We did graduate five extremely good seniors. Four of them are playing in college and the fifth could have played if she chose to, but she did not. The four kids playing are making a name for themselves at their respective college programs.
“I am spoiled. I have some great girls who come from great families. … I am very fortunate. I have kids that work hard. They want to be here. They come early to practice and stay late. All those clichés that you hear all the time applies to these girls.”
Bailey, who is 15 and a 4.0 student, recently committed to play at Ohio State.
“It has always been my dream to play amongst top 10 teams and I think the Big Ten gives me a chance to play against top 10 teams,” Bailey said. “Ohio State is just a great opportunity for me to expand my playing. I am just real excited.”
Seniors Julie Worley (22 kills and four blocks) and Kelsey Lensman paced the Vikings (eight digs and seven service points). Junior Lindsay Brumbaugh totaled 44 assists.
“I liked the character we showed during the third game,” Hoover coach Mia Thomas said. “That was the high point for us. I thought we did some things really well, but we were very inconsistent. That was the most disappointing part. Defensively, we didn’t read the hitters very well, which we had been working on.”
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the high school blog at http://www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MBeavenABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.