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SL volleyball falls to Peru in opener

The Saranac Lake volleyball team opened up a short, fast-paced season with a 3-0 road loss Wednesday at Peru.

After seeing a lot of talent and experience graduate from a varsity program that captured three straight sectional prior to this spring’s seven-match season, a new-look Red Storm squad stepped on the court against a Peru team that’s traditionally one of the best in the Champlain Valley Athletic Conference.

In what turned out to be a tight contest, Peru swept by scores of 25-23, 25-20 and 25-19. The win was the second in as many nights for the Nighthawks, who improved to 2-0.

Saranac Lake head coach Mike Navarra said it was strange entering the gym for the first time to face an opponent with all the coronavirus protocols in place.

“It was different,” Navarra said. “Just the overall enviroment of entering the gym and not engaging with the other team. There’s no going to the other coaches to talk and say hello, no handshakes; even communication between the coach and kids is far more difficult.

“We’re a young team, and we’re a team missing that confidence level,” Navarra continued. “We didn’t get beat physically, we did intellectually. They outsmarted us. We started off really strong but we had a lot of inconsistency. After a few mistakes from some veteran players, they started getting a little down.”

The Nighthawks, who are also young with just one senior on the roster, have won both their matches in straight sets. They got a balanced effort throughout the lineup on the way to taking down the Red Storm.

Shian Brunell, Peru’s lone senior, had a strong performance that included four aces, four kills and a dozen digs. Stat leaders for Peru included Payton Seymour with eight kills, Alyssa Bartholomew with 14 digs and Rachel Madore with 20 assists.

Alyssa LaPierre led Saranac Lake in scoring with 10 points and two aces. The junior also added two kills and six digs. Leaders for the Red Storm also were Sydney Leeret with seven assists, Mia Sanford and Kelsey Leeret with four kills each, and Allison Hewitt, who tied for team-high with six digs.

“I think our kids gave a good effort, but we had no offense, no transition and limited movement,” Navarra said. “Peru did a good job exploiting what we showed them. The girls have done everything they are expected to in practice, they’ve been enthusiastic, and we were missing some of that. Hopefully we’ll bounce back. I’m not looking at wins and losses. It’s all about improvement, gaining composure and advancement.”

The Red Storm next play tonight at home against Plattsburgh starting at 6:30 p.m.

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