Last week's regular season high school volleyball game between Kennett and Unionville had all the ingredients of a district playoff game: high levels of intensity and emotion on both sides, and a good atmosphere in the gym.That's usually the case when the two archrivals square off, especially when both come into the match undefeated and fighting for first place in the league.
In a showdown of Ches-Mont League American Division leaders last Wednesday night, it was Unionville who prevailed in a hard-fought contest, as the Lady Indians played strong down the stretch to defeat Kennett 25-20, 23-25, 25-18, 25-17 at Kennett High School.
"It was one of those epic Unionville/Kennett matches - two hours long, fantastic crowd, and lots of shits in momentum," said Unionville head coach Rob ContiD'Antonio. "A match like this really tests your metal. We were both undefeated in the league coming in, so it made it and even bigger game than usual.
"This was the most adversity that we've faced yet, and any time you beat Kennett it's a great win. But this is September, and I tell the girls nothing is ever won in September. We have a long way to go."
Unionville (6-0 overall, 5-0 league) took over sole possession of first place in the Ches-Mont League's American Division with the win. The Indians were led by Breanna Rafetto (18 kills), Christine Schiavello (39 assists, five aces), Jessica Pike (10 kills, 12 digs) and Katie Metkov (six kills, three blocks).
Kennett, who suffered its first lost of the season, dropped to 4-1 overall and 4-1 in the league. The Blue Demons received strong games from Brittany Mattern (13 kills), Julianne Eklund (10 kills), Jaclyn Kogut (nine digs), Katrina Sungail (10 blocks) and Mallory Kohn (44 assists).
"It was a good volleyball game," said Kennett head coach Linda Eklund. "We had the lead a couple of times in the third and fourth games, but we struggled with some serves at key points. It's hard to give the ball up like that, and then Unionville poured it on. It was a very emotional game, though."
Kennett will get another shot at Unionville later this season, when the two rivals meet on Tuesday, Oct. 14 at Unionville High School.
"I know the rivalry between Kennett and Unionville in some of the sports is a little more testy," said Conti-D'Antonio, "but these girls were hugging each other afterwards. They really bring out the best in each other."