Leadership High School, led by standout sophomore Briana Silvestre, dominated International Studies Academy in a 25-13, 25-14, 25-9 nonleague victory on Monday at School of the Arts that was highlighted by 27 service aces for the Griffins.
Silvestre had 19 of those aces for the Griffins (4-4, 2-2 in Bay Counties League Central), including six in the first eight points of the first game. The primary focus of the leadership attack was through Silvestre and Dajanae Gilliam.
“My serve used to be more of a float serve, but I worked with a serving coach and it’s now a drop serve,” Silvestre said. “Coach told us to take this game like a practice game, but much more seriously. We still need to improve, especially with communication, but the improvement has been apparent through this season so far.”
The Cobras (0-1) could not get a win, but according to ISA coach Christina Sarile, the improvement was clear amongst her team, which opens its Academic Athletic Association season on Friday against Washington. Last season, the Cobras went 0-11 overall and 0-9 in AAA play.
“This was definitely a learning experience for us,” Sarile said. “I’m surprised by our play. We played timidly and not how we do at practice. Even though we didn’t get the win today, this was an improvement on the play from last season.”
One major highlight for the Cobras was the play of senior Yesenia Rodriguez, who is a captain and a strong leader on the floor. According to Coach Sarile, Rodriguez has aspirations to play professionally.
“She is the most senior player with the most amount of leadership and experience out there, and I trust her,” Sarile said. “She has the ability to motivate this team to do even more and go after the balls in play.”
Leadership also won the match in straight sets without the use of any subs. The original six that started finished the match and neither team used a libero. Leadership played with only eight dressed players, but more are expected to be playing when grade reports are issued on Oct. 14.
“Our serving today was phenomenal,” Leadership coach Nicholas Woo said. “It was very consistent, which helps us get points on the board. We need to continue to communicate out on the floor.”
Leadership will take on Drew in another nonleague game Tuesday, then will continue its BCL Central season on Friday against Waldorf.