KINNELON _ As a libero, kills aren't Kayla Scherlacher's specialty.
Scherlacher typically spends her time in the back of the court accumulating digs for Jefferson so, when she records a kill, like the one she had late in the second game of the Falcons' match versus Kinnelon, it's cause for major excitement.
"Someone was up in the air and I got the third hit," said the 5-foot-2 Scherlacher, whose rare kill accompanied 10 digs. "That was nice."
Even better was the end result - fifth-seeded Jefferson's 25-20, 25-21 defeat of the No. 4 Colts in Morris County Tournament quarterfinal action on Saturday, Oct. 17.
The Falcons (14-3) beat Kinnelon for the first time in the history of their program, setting off a spirited celebration. The upset earned them a berth opposite West Morris, the No. 1 seed.
"Kinnelon's always had our number," Jefferson coach Marc Gaydos said. "They've been one step ahead. We make too many errors sometimes. We eliminated them today. We played Kinnelon tough and got them out of their game. It was a great all-around effort."
Scherlacher said the win was for the seniors and noted that it was "a great feeling."
One of those two seniors, middle hitter Julia Murawinski, was exceptional with 15 kills, eight aces and three digs. Murawsinki, whose six consecutive aces highlighted the first set, was overcome with emotion. It was understandable, considering how many losses to Kinnelon (16-3) she has experienced.
"This means so much in so many ways," Murawinski said. "We have never, ever, never beaten them. Kinnelon is very well put together and well coached. We clicked. We've been slacking a bit lately. We don't play well until it's too late then we can't recover."
Murawinski noted that the Falcons didn't succumb or drop their level of play after falling behind in the first game. They just got the job done with the 6-foot-2 Murawinski, also a standout in basketball, dominating.
"I was very nervous coming into this match," Murawinski said. "My legs were shaking during warmups. I had butterflies. I'm usually not nervous but I was scared because of all of the losses. I still felt like we'd show up this time and we did."
The second set was tight. Beginning with 10-10, the score was tied eight times. Once again, Jefferson remained composed. The last deadlock was 20-20. The Falcons then reeled off four points in a row. For 23-20, sophomore opposite Katie DeBell sent a well-placed kill, one of her four, to the sideline. Murawinski scored the decisive point with a kill.
Gaydos moved Schyler White, normally an outside hitter, to middle hitter. The strategy proved beneficial. White had three digs, five kills and two aces.
"It gave us a power swing from Julia," Gaydos said. "She's always in the back. Putting Schyler at the middle position gave us an extra hit."
Jordan Rock, the Falcons' setter, contributed 19 assists. For Kinnelon, Taylor Rosenberg had 16 assists, Meg Andersen had six kills and Anna Tiajoloff ended with five kills and three digs.
The approach Scherlacher takes when playing libero applied to the entire Jefferson team on Saturday.
"I give all I've got," she said. "I try to stay strong. I'm focused. I don't want to let the ball drop. If you keep that mindset, nothing will stop you."
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