By PAUL WAGER
MAYFIELD – As debuts go, one couldn’t ask for a better one than first-year Mayfield volleyball coach Brynn Hlozansky had Wednesday.
Taking over for longtime coach Eileen Rovito, Hlozansky watched her squad roll to a 3-0 non-league victory over Johnstown at Rovito Gymnasium.
The Panthers won by scores of 25-7, 25-19 and 25-10.
“My team left me speechless tonight,” said Hlozansky, who is a 2012 Johnstown graduate. “We played really well. This was definitely a great start to the season.”
Julia Fitzgerald finished with 13 assists, six service points, four aces and a dig for Mayfield.
Morgan Ashline had 10 service points, two kills and two aces for Mayfield, Madison King had four service points, two aces, two kills and two blocks, and Alyssia Weichel posted five service points, four kills, three aces and two digs. Camie Hart registered nine digs and two assists for the Panthers, and Alissa Wilbur had six service points, three kills and two digs.
Teianna Frasier had four digs, four assists, three service points and two aces for Johnstown, while Camille Gray posted five service points and five digs. Deanna Beaupre added one kill and one block for the Lady Bills.
“This is a great group of girls,” Johnstown coach Holly Livingston said. “We all knew that it would be kind of a rebuilding year. We’ve got a young team, but they’re working hard.”
Coaching at the varsity level for the first time, Hlozansky said she was nervous heading into the match.
“I was definitely anxious all day thinking about the match. The first few serves my heart was racing,” Hlozansky said.
The Panthers did their part to ease their coach’s nerves, jumping out to a 6-0 lead and rolling to a 25-7 first-set win.
“The first game was a huge confidence boost for us,” Hlozansky said. “Starting out so well allowed us to settle in and get rid of the nerves.”
Fitzgerald started the match with six straight service points for Mayfield, while Ashline reeled off eight straight points to make it 14-2 and allowing the Panthers to cruise from there.
With one game in hand, Mayfield struggled from the service line in the second game, with eight service errors.
“If you miss a serve at this level, it’s a mental mistake,” Hlozansky said. “We missed a few too many serves tonight and that’s something we need to work on.”
The Panthers’ service issues allowed Johnstown to stay within striking distance throughout the second set before Mayfield emerged with a 25-19 win to take a 2-0 lead.
Hlozansky used a completely differently lineup in the second set as she showcased her squad’s depth.
“This group makes my job very hard. “We have 12 or 13 girls that are ready to play and that can play. Everybody got to play tonight and everybody played well.
Mayfield sealed the first win of Hlozansky’s career with a convincing 25-10 win in the third and final set as the Panthers jumped out to a 16-6 lead.
Wilbur contributed seven straight service points during the run for Mayfield, which went on to seal the three-set victory and win No. 1 for Hlozansky.
“It’s nice to get that first win out of the way,” Hlozansky said. “This is a great group that I have the privilege of coaching and we’re hoping to have a great season. It’s also an honor to take over the program from Eileen, who is a great coach and a great person.”
Rovito won 337 matches, nine league titles and six sectional titles as Mayfield coach. Rovito’s teams finished third in the state in 2015 and 2018 after reaching the state final four.
Mayfield (1-0 overall) is slated to host Galway on Thursday in its Western Athletic Conference opener at 6 p.m.
“It’s a quick turnaround for us,” Hlozansky said. “Galway is a good team, but if we play with the energy and confidence we played with tonight, we have a chance.”
Johnstown (0-1 overall) is scheduled to host Fonda-Fultonville on Friday at 6 p.m. in a non-league match.
“We have to continue to work hard,” Livingston said. “We’re looking to improve and have fun.”
Mayfield 3, Johnstown 0
Set scores: 25-7, 25-19, 25-10
Johnstown highlights: Frasier, 4 digs 4 assists, 3 service points, 2 aces, 1 kill; Gray 5 service points, 5 digs; Beaupre, 1 kill, 1 block.
Mayfield highlights: Fitzgerald, 13 assists, 6 service points, 4 aces, 1 dig; Ashline. 10 service points, 2 aces, 2 kills, 1 dig; Hart, 9 digs, 2 assists; King, 4 service points, 2 aces, 2 kills, 2 blocks; Weichel, 5 service points, 4 kills, 3 aces, 2 digs; Wilbur, 6 service points, 3 kills, 2 digs, 1 assist.