Athleticism and senior leadership are two key reasons why Firestone has ascended to the top of the City Series girls volleyball standings this year.

Firestone and Ellet are the perennial favorites in the City, and this year the Falcons have two wins over their rivals, including Tuesday’s three sets to one victory.

Junior Kennedy Majors had 13 kills and senior Lionna Wahid finished with 38 assists to guide the Falcons (11-4, 9-0) over host Orangemen (8-3, 7-2).

Senior Kennedy Edwards totaled 18 digs and senior Stephanie White contributed 22 service points and five aces for Firestone, which won at home three sets to two over Ellet earlier this year.

“Our girls adjusted well to playing against Ellet’s style of play from the first match to this match,” Firestone coach Stacey Myers said. “We also have improved with the diversity of our offense and using service as our first weapon.

“I love the competition, and I am proud of how my girls persevere.”

Majors and senior Lydia Sherman (10 kills, four blocks) led Firestone at the net. Edwards, Wahid, White and seniors Portia Snipes (14 digs), Imari Barnes-McCoy (13 service points, four aces) were also key players for the Falcons. “I think we have a way of picking things up even when we’re down,” Edwards said. “We work our best when we’re against the wall.”

Firestone won the first set 25-22, Ellet won the second set 25-23.

“Coming into this, my teammates and I know it is going to be a harder match compared to other games that we will play,” Sherman said. “I like how mentally we prepare ourselves before and during the game, because we stay focused and we have fun.”

The Falcons won the third and fourth sets by scores of 25-16 and 25-19.

“We work well together with everything,” Majors said. “We are a good, cohesive group.”

Myers was also pleased with the play of senior Bria Monday.

“When we come together and we settle down, our team chemistry comes back and we start to flow,” White said.

Junior Abigail Zupancic (11 kills), sophomore Mackenzie Mondy (14 assists) and junior Cassie Dario (13 service points, eight aces) paced Ellet.

“I know we can compete with them, and we haven’t played a solid game yet,” Ellet coach Tina Wallace said. “The first time when we played them at Firestone, we played horrific, and we were right there. Game 5 was 15-11 [in favor of Firestone].

“That was the first game without our best player, [sophomore] Candace Wright. She is a big part of our team, but that is certainly not why we lost today. We didn’t have it. The better team won today.”

Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or mbeaven@thebeaconjournal.com. Read the #ABJVarsity high school blog at www.ohio.com/preps.