ERIE – Most volleyball teams would be lost without their setter.
The Erie Cardinals lost senior setter Katelyn Temple to a foot injury on Saturday. Yet, they still went 5-0 and won a tournament at Eastland High School. Tuesday, they continued to roll without Temple, sweeping past Newman 25-13, 25-19 in a Three Rivers matchl.
"I'm so proud of them. They've all stepped up and carried each other," said Cardinals coach Alicia Murphy, herself in a walking boot.
The team's other senior setter, Deanna Black, has stepped into a larger role. Black doled out 18 assists and added five digs Tuesday.
"We ran a 6-2 [two-setter attack] anyway," said Murphy, whose team beat Newman for the third time. "We just ended up going all the way around with Deanna. She's a senior, too, and she proved it tonight."
Erie freshman Peyton Rus, the younger sister of senior Paige Rus, was the most dominant player at the net. Peyton Rus put down a match-high 10 kills.
Paige Rus, who contrbuted five kills, is relishing the opportunity to play alongside her sister.
"It's an experience that you can't put a price on," Paige said. "We'll be able to talk about it years down the road. I'm very thankful that I get to spend it with her. She has a lot of talent. I'm excited to watch her in the future years. She always amazes me."
Erie (23-9, 9-4) controlled the action in Set 1, jumping in front 5-0 and leading by at least four the rest of the way.
Peyton Rus thumped four kills as the Cardinals extended to a 12-4 advantage. Newman (19-11, 9-4) shaved the margin in half, making it 14-10, thanks to a pair of kills by sophomore Aubree Schmitt, who had a team-high four kills.
Erie used a 7-1 tear to make it 21-11. The flurry included two more kills from Peyton Rus. Another freshman, Rachel Cobert, who had five kills, provided a kill for the Cardinals' 24th point and a block for their 25th.
The Comets were much better at the beginning of Set 2, pullling in front 12-8, with Bree deLong, Kayci Howell, Jaimie Hurd, and Schmitt providing kills.
Erie responded with a 6-0 burst to go ahead 14-12 and continued for a 14-2 blitz that made it 22-14. Paige Rus had two kills and a block to highlight the decisive run, which also included two kills apiece by sophomores Megan Heun and Savannah Mettler.
Newman whittled the difference to four at 23-19 before kills from Peyton Rus and Mettler closed things out.
"I ripped into my girls about their attitudes," Comets coach Debbi Kelly said. "They put their heads down and didn't believe that they could come back."
Star of the match: Peyton Rus, Erie, 10 kills, 7 digs
Key performers: Paige Rus, Erie, 5 kills; Deanna Black, Erie, 18 assists; Aubree Schmitt, Newman, 4 kills
Up next: Newman at Bureau Valley; Erie at Prophetstown (both 7:30 p.m. Thursday)