By Rob DiFranco
@difranco_rob on Twitter
After a long, uneasy offseason, Avon’s Emily Gardner and the rest of the Eagles’ volleyball seniors breathed a sigh of relief as they were celebrated at the teams’ senior night Sept. 10.
Following the pregame ceremony that featured memories of the good times spent together, and even a few tears, the Eagles got to work on the court. Just over an hour later, they celebrated once again after dispatching North Olmsted in three sets.
“These are incredible seniors,” Avon head coach Julie Bendzuck said. “Both academically and athletically. We’ve got future lawyers, doctors and college volleyball players. There’s so much drive in these kids.
“All summer they weren’t sure if they were going to have a season. So I feel like it’s extremely important that we recognize them, and I think we made tonight pretty special for them.”
Avon fell behind on the opening point, but didn’t trail for long. Gardner, who was named to the Under Armor All-American watch list this preseason, immediately answered with a vicious spike, and the Eagles were off and running.
“I feel like I could have been a little bit better terminating the ball, but I thought we all played well together,” Gardner said. “It’s just nice to be able to play with my friends for one last season. We’ve been playing pretty well so far so I hope we can continue that.”
Gardner and teammate junior Emma Farney powered the Eagles to a 25-12 first set win. Farney netted two of her four aces in the first, while sophomore Avery Abfall added two kills as a part of Avon’s dangerous front row.
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