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A young and talented Twinsburg volleyball team is showing signs of growth against a tough schedule this season.
Twinsburg competed in the Chagrin Falls Invitational Tournament and grabbed third place out of eight teams in the Sept. 17 event.
Both on and off the court, the Tigers are beginning to gel under head coach Tonia Brennen and a 2-1 effort in Chagrin Falls was yet another positive sign. Twinsburg moved to 3-7 overall.
"I thought the competition was good at Chagrin Falls and I think this young team is playing much better," noted Brennen.
Twinsburg beat Bay Village 25-15, 25-17, then lost to Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy 25-14, 25-17, and then won over Rocky River 25-21, 25-12.
"From the start of the year, we are improving and the girls are starting to get the speed of the varsity level," added the coach. "The kids are playing smarter and with more focus, and they are learning."
"I think these ladies are having some fun, both on and off the court," added Brennen, of the Tigers' maturation process.
Rocky River led 11-4 in the first set before Twinsburg firing back on a 21-10 run.
Junior setter Cassidy Liotta posted 20 assists and had three service aces while junior outside hitter Bella Varga had eight kills and Annaiya Ruffin had three blocks.
Senior libero Marie Piccone registered 12 digs to pace the Lady Tigers in game three.
"Bella Varga was selected for the All-Tournament Team as third-place received one selection for the all-tournament team representation," noted Brennen. "She is playing well and is emerging as one of our strong leaders.
"She (Varga) communicates well, is a kill leader, and is a great passer," she added.
A host of Lady Tigers shine in the win over Bay Village.
Leading the team in kills was Varga with eight and sophomore outside hitter Simone Gest, who had seven. Varga had three blocks and two aces.
"Simone Gest is also playing extremely well and keeps getting better," said Brennen.
Piccone excelled on defense and led in digs with 13 while Liotta had 21 assists and two aces. Ruffin had three aces.
"It was a great game, and we had some tough serves and move the ball well, creating a quick offense," explained Brennen.
CVCA (10-2) beat Twinsburg for the second time this season, but the Royals could be an area sleeper in Division II.
Piccone had 14 digs while Varga had 10 digs and five kills. Ruffin had two blocks and Liotta handed out 15 assists. Last year, Twinsburg beat CVCA in the title game at Chagrin.
"I think CVCA is very experienced and they are a very good team," said the mentor. "We just couldn't put the ball away."
Twinsburg won its first league game to move to 1-6 in the National Conference of the Suburban League with a Sept. 15 win at Nordonia. The Tigers won 25-19, 25-23, and 25-18.
Results of the Sept. 20 match against Cuyahoga Falls weren't available as of press time.
Gest posted 15 digs and 11 kills while Liotta had 25 assists and two aces against the Knights.
Sound defense was a key. Camari Griffin had two blocks in the win while Varga had 11 kills and 14 digs.
The Tigers host North Royalton Sept. 22 and Brecksville Sept. 27 in league battles before a Sept. 28 visit to Stow-Munroe Falls.
Senior defensive specialist Shelbi Netzband has also excelled on the back row. Varga also had 16 kills and 15 digs in a recent league loss at Hudson.