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Bezdicek's 16 kills leads No. 9 JCC past Adrian in season opener

ADRIAN -- For two coaches, Thursday night's match was the start of two new eras.

Both Katie Prunty of Adrian and Teresa Van Epps of Jackson County Central were making their coaching debut with their respective teams in a non-conference match up in Adrian.

Van Epps' Huskies came out on top in three games, 25-16, 25-20 and 25-12.

"I was really impressed with how we came out the first two sets," Prunty said. "I thought we came out ready to play."

Adrian started each of the first two matches with the lead, but could not hold it each of the first two games.

In the first game, Adrian (0-1) held a 2-0 lead, but JCC (1-0) came back with a 7-1 run to take the lead. JCC would not relinquish the lead as the Huskies went on to win, 25-16.

"Our aggressiveness in the first two games was key," Prunty said. "We weren't afraid to hit the ball. Our hitters were not afraid to be just like Jackson on the other side."

In the second game, Adrian once again held a 2-0 lead, but later, one of Megan Bezdicek's 16 kills on the night tied the game.

JCC led by as many as five in the later part of the game, but Adrian's Bridget Block had one of her five kills on the night to bring the Dragons back to within four.

However, Adrian came up just short as JCC defeated Adrian 25-20 in game two.

The Huskies came out on fire in the third game, leading by eight before Adrian scored a point. JCC never looked back as they won the third game 25-12.

"These girls have the potential to beat anybody in the area," Prunty said. "The first two games they played like it. In the third game, they got up on us right away and it's so hard to come back from that. Volleyball is such a game of momentum that once you get behind it takes a lot to push forward."

For JCC, the difference in the last game was just a small change in personnel. Van Epps switched Bezdicek to the middle and Ashley Lucht to the right side between the second and third games.

"As far as tonight's match is concerned, we just weren't in sync the first two games," Van Epps said. "The third game I switched it up a little bit and the girls just seemed to find that rhythm."

For JCC, Van Epps thought her team did well on the defensive side.

"I thought the girls did very well in their passing and their digging," Van Epps said. "I thought they did a good job of getting the balls and not giving up on it."

Anna Menelly and Halee Elness led the way with 17 and 10 set assists respectively. Brooke Burmeister led the way with eight digs and five serve aces.

For Adrian, Kayla Bullerman led the way with 10 set assists.

"Our passing was also very good in the first two games," Prunty said. "That's something that has not been one of the strengths in the past years, but this year our passers are fantastic. If you start with a pass, then the rest follows. But if you don't have a pass, then it's hard to get anything going."

Kourtney Kramer led the Dragons with seven kills, while Megan Graff had five blocks at the net.

Van Epps said she was relieved to win the first match.

"It's always big when you can get that first match," Van Epps said. "It would be better if it was at home, but on the road, it's just as exciting as it is at home. It's a victory, and we play the season one match at a time."

JCC will host St. James Tuesday.

"That's going to be a tough match," Van Epps said. "We're the Huskies, and they are going to come in and they are going to play tough every night. I think no matter where we go, the girls have confidence."

Adrian will now try to regroup against Granada-Huntley-EC/M.L. on Tuesday in Adrian.

"Tonight was a good night because it showed me things that we need to work on," Prunty said. "We definitely are going to be very successful. As long as I can get them to believe that, then everything's going to fall into place for us."