Savannah’s two best volleyball teams met for the first time this season Thursday as Savannah Christian hosted Calvary Day, the three-time defending GHSA Class A state champion.
But the Raiders didn’t flinch against their cross-town rivals, playing with confidence and coming away with a victory in four sets, 25-20, 15-25, 25-21, 25-20.
Injuries played a factor for both teams. SCPS (13-3, 2-0 in Area 3 AA/A Private) is playing without its star setter Sam Zittrauer, as the senior is out for the season with a knee injury she suffered playing club volleyball. Calvary Day (15-3, 1-1) played without standout sophomore outside hitter Tynley Smeltzer, who is dealing with a sore right shoulder. Calvary entered the game ranked No. 4 among Class A Private teams by Score Atlanta, and SCPS is No. 6.
The Raiders came out strong, taking control of the first set as they broke away from a 16-16 stalemate -- going on a 9-4 run to close things out. Adrianna Simon had a five-point service run and McCulloch Hoxie had a key ace down the stretch for the Raiders.
Calvary responded by taking the second set 25-15. Basia Peragine got hot serving and at the net, and Caitlyn Baker had back-to-back aces to highlight the set.
But Savannah Christian settled down and finished things off in the last two sets. Sophomore setter Lexi Polychrones ran the offense well, dishing out 38 assists and adding eight digs and four aces. Simon slammed home a cross-court winner to end the match and had 11 kills and 22 digs on the night. Hoxie had seven kills, Sarah White had 10 digs and five kills, Emma Gunn had nine kills and two aces and Mackenzie Riner chipped in with six kills for Savannah Christian.
“This is a really big win for us because it’s our rivalry match,” said White, a senior. “This is the one we’ve been working for all year. We had to focus on shutting down their big hitters and limit the mistakes on our side of the court.”
Savannah Christian coach Julie Jones said it has been tough this season without Zittrauer, who still provides a lot of leadership with her support and knowledge of the game from the Raider bench.
“I thought Lexi did a good job tonight,” Jones said. “She has a ton of ability and is learning the game. We made some errors tonight, but we fought through it. We let them go on some runs, but we kept our heads.”
Susannah Fowler and Baker share the setting duties for the Cavaliers, and both played well. Peragine, a senior who has committed to Stonehill College, had 12 kills and a pair of aces. Alana White had 11 kills and six digs, and Helen Chisolm had 12 digs and eight kills. Shorter commit Madison Sprosty anchored the back line with 16 digs and added a pair of aces.
“I thought having Tynley out of the match caused us to play a little hesitant,” Calvary coach Hannah Hunter said. “But I was excited to see other players step up in certain moments. We made too many errors and gave them a lot of opportunities, and they put the ball away when they needed to.”by By Dennis Knight/For the Savannah Morning News