ST. PETERSBURG — For the past couple of seasons, Canterbury has regularly found itself near the top of the county lead for aces.
On Tuesday, local rival St. Petersburg Catholic found out why.
Mixing powerful bombs with well-placed jumpers, Canterbury served 23 team aces to handcuff the Barons in a 25-21, 25-18, 25-12 victory.
“We get a lot of free points on our serve,” Canterbury coach John Milkovich said. “It helps us out a lot.”
Canterbury setter Alexis Conway in particular was lethal with the ball in her hand. She opened the match serving four aces and two others that were unreturned to give the Crusaders a quick 6-0 lead and put the Barons (0-3) on their heels from the outset.
Conway, a senior, served 10 of the Crusaders’ 23 aces.
“It’s always nice to put a little bit of a cushion on the board and play from there,” Milkovich said.
Canterbury (3-0) led by as many as 10 points in game one before the Barons closed the gap at 23-21. Two straight hitting errors by St. Petersburg Catholic, however, allowed the Crusaders to hold on for the opening game.
“(St. Petersburg Catholic’s) solid. They’re well-coached,” Milkovich said. “They did a lot of good things. They don’t let a lot of stuff drop when we’re attacking. That makes us work harder and realize we have to earn the point. They’re not going to give it to us.”
In game two, the Crusaders opened a comfortable margin midway through and kept that lead.
Conway won six straight points on her serve to start game three, which the Crusaders won handily.
“I’m really pleased with where we’re at this early in the season,” Milkovich said.
Mansie Hough paced Canterbury with 11 kills. Megan Burgess added 10.
“When we put the ball to Mansie or Megan, it’s kind of a done deal,” Milkovich said.