HUDSON — Six days after Fivay left Ridgewood’s gym with a listless loss, the Falcons returned the favor.
Fivay rebounded from its first district defeat of the season and early-match miscues to beat Ridgewood 15-25, 25-15, 25-22, 25-18 Tuesday on the Falcons’ senior night. The rivals end the district regular season tied for first in Class 5A, District 8 with one loss each.
“Each time play a team like this, we improve,” Fivay coach Linda McQuade said. “We’re doing a great job as far as hitting the ball, which we didn’t do very much (last game).”
McQuade said her Falcons (18-4) were lethargic in last week’s four-game loss to Ridgewood (15-3). Fivay took a day off to recover before refocusing on the rest of the season.
The results didn’t show early Tuesday, despite a spirited senior-night crowd in a streamer-strewn gym. Behind early kills from Aubree Sigismondi and Lauren Gonzalez and an ace from Mary Kujak, Ridgewood jumped out to a 14-3 lead. Fivay settled down after that, taking advantage of five consecutive Rams errors before Briannah Nemetz smashed one of her eight kills.
“She’s been doing a good job with hitting,” McQuade said. “She’s been working her butt off.”
Ridgewood claimed the first game, but Fivay quickly seized control of the match in the second. With Jackie Cosh serving, the Falcons took six consecutive points in the second to jump out to a 12-7 lead, and they never looked back. Jordyn Mattos made a game-saving play, tapping the ball over the net after Ridgewood chased it down to the gym wall.
Just as the Rams capitalized on Fivay’s 41-to-23 kill-to-error ratio last week, the Falcons feasted on Ridgewood’s mistakes Tuesday, including six service errors and another missed hit that ended the second game.
“Last time they had some unforced errors; we took advantage,” Ridgewood coach Amber Starkey said. “Tonight we had the unforced errors, and they took advantage.”
Ridgewood battled back in the third, thanks to two key blocks from Kujak, and two more of Gonzalez’s five kills. After the Rams cut the deficit to 23-22, Fivay pulled away with two more Ridgewood errors.
The Falcons closed it in the fourth, led by Ashliegh Nemetz’s back-to-back spikes and two of Toni Imbimbo’s match-high 10 kills. Alli Hudson added four kills in the victory.
The west Pasco County rivals have played each other identically in two matchups. Ridgewood claimed the first match 3-1. Fivay claimed the second by the same score. Both teams have earned 173 points in their duels while dominating the rest of the district.
That means the Falcons and Rams could be in for a pivotal rematch in the district tournament final.
“We hope so,” Starkey said.
Matt Baker can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @MattHomeTeam.