By RYAN CZACHORSKI
---- — STRASBURG — Ronda Schlecte's Stew-Stras Comets have a tendency to start out their sets slow.
It manifested itself in both sets of the Comets' match with Arcola Monday night, which also served as the team's home opener.
Luckily for their coach, the Comets also tend to rebound quickly. That's exactly what they did Monday, cruising to a straight set 25-12, 25-12 victory over the Arcola Purple Riders.
"We're known for that, to start out on a slow note," Schlecte said. "I think probably nerves of the first home game. But they came through, I know they can do it. It's just getting them all to work together and getting the nerves out right away."
Arcola jumped out to a 4-2 lead on the Comets after a pair of kills by Taylor Edwards. It wouldn't last. Before the Purple Ridgers could blink, Stew-Stras uncorked a 9-1 run and took an 11-5 lead with Brittani Tabbert at the service line.
After cutting the lead to five, Arcola would never get closer, giving the Comets a number of free points on spikes into the nets and service errors. With the set on the line, Becca Schlecte had a 4-0 service run and ended the set with back-to-back aces.
The Purple Riders hung around for a bit longer in the second set, taking a 3-2 lead and holding on to it until a 6-6 tie. But again, the Comets started to take over with Schlecte at the service line as she had two more aces in a 9-0 run.
Every Comet in the starting lineup chipped in down the stretch, with kills by Tabbert, Baylee Quast and Lindsay Burton.
The statistics backed it up for the Comets, as nearly everyone contributed in the kill department and every Comet had a dig on the night.
"They've been playing really well together, I've been very pleased with how they've been coming a long as a team," Ronda Schlecte said. "I thought we were a little better tonight as far as helping each other out when there's a shanked ball, picking each other up."
Tabbert led the team with four kills while Schlecte and Burton each had three. Schlecte had four aces and Quast and Tabbert added eight each. Quast also led the Comets with eight assists.
Kendall Knop had a strong game with seven digs and a number of impressive serves, and Schlecte finished second on the team with five digs.
"We have a really strong team this year," Ronda Schlecte said. "It's not just one or two players, it's the whole team. It's a nice thing to have."
Stew-Stras is now 3-0 on the year and 1-0 in the NTC. They resume conference play tonight, traveling to face Beecher City.
Arcola 12 12
Stew-Stras 25 25
Stew-Stras: Schlecte (4 aces, 3 kills, 4 assists, 5 digs); Quast (2 aces, 1 kill, 8 assists, 3 digs); Knop (2 kills, 7 digs); Tabbert (2 aces, 3 kills, 4 digs, 0.5 blocks); Burton (1 ace, 3 kills, 2 digs); Stremming (1 dig, 0.5 blocks); Locke (1 kill, 1 assist, 2 digs)