Kingsley-Pierson holds off MMCRU in four sets
REMSEN — While it was the opening game of the season for both teams, the atmosphere for Thursday’s volleyball match between Kingsley-Pierson and MMCRU had a tinge of postseason quality to it.
“It was just great volleyball,” MMCRU Head Coach Heather Youde said. “We pounded the ball hard. We got a little pushy and we couldn’t get on runs, but when we were pounding the ball and it was working it was beautiful.”
It was a close start to the first set where neither team led by more than two points until the Royals took a 14-11 lead, forcing a timeout from the Panthers after a block at the net by Faith Olson and Emily Dreckman. MMCRU added another point out of the break before the Panthers went on a run of their own. With Madison Goodwin at the service line, the Panthers fought back, reaching a tie on an ace with another ace later in the 8-0 run which gave K-P the lead.
Goodwin said it was nice to be able to find a groove at the service line.
“It felt good that I could keep getting points for the team,” Goodwin said. “We all just worked together and it was a good win. It was nerve-wracking but they fought hard and I’m proud of my team.”
The Royals did pull back to a tie at 21-21 with an ace from Olson, but the Panthers capitalized on a net and double hit violation to win the set 25-21.
“The girls worked very hard and had a lot of energy tonight,” K-P Head Coach Torey Hill said. “It’s a really great way to start the year. MMCRU’s very scrappy and they’re very good hitters. We know what we need to work on now, especially with how scrappy they were and how close those games were. Things that we need to work on, we did get down on ourselves a couple times so just keeping that energy and we shake off the point that maybe we lost and we come back and we keep firing at whoever we’re playing.”
The second set was MMCRU’s turn to pull out a come-from-behind win after trailing 20-15. Olson dropped in another of her three aces of the match, tied with Dreckman for most on the team, to force a timeout at 20-18.
Youde said the team did better mixing it up in the second set.
“I thought the first set we got a little predictable,” Youde said. “High outside, high middle, high back and so we talked about how these are high risk plays, but we need to do those in games otherwise we’re too predictable and we get blocked too easy. That’s the name of our game this year is just trying to mix things up and learn from them. Sometimes they’ll work and sometimes they won’t and that’s okay.”
Jaylen Bork came through with back-to-back points on a block and kill to give the Royals the lead as the team ended the set on a 10-1 run to win 25-21.
Youde said she was happy with the performance she saw out of Bork as she led the Royals with 10 kills.
“They were having a hard time with Jaylen Bork so we were trying to feed her quite a bit as much as we possibly can and I thought she did a good job,” Youde said. “Overall my hitters were really strong. Haley and Gretchen came up with some huge hits and Emily in the middle did the same thing.”
The Panthers bounced back in the third as they controlled the set from start to finish with a 25-19 win.
The fourth set started with K-P leading for much of the way, but the Royals answered back and tied the set at 15 apiece to force a timeout. MMCRU built onto their lead with a kill from Gretchen Ruba, a Madison Treinen ace, a Panther net violation and a Dreckman kill pushed the lead up to four.
The Panthers weren’t ready to give in to MMCRU’s bid for a fifth set as they closed the gap to a tie at 24-24. An attacking error by the Royals gave the Panthers a match point opportunity, but a lift call tied the game once more. The Panthers were able to seal the win with a pair of attacking errors by the Royals as they won 27-25.
“Just watching the girls come out of that and continue to fight and finish off, that just shows us that we can do things this season,” Hill said. “I’m so proud of these girls. I’ve seen a lot of amazing things and I’ve got a lot of high hopes. I’ve seen it in practice, but actually seeing it in a live game situation, these girls have never played together. They came together like frosting on cake.”
MMCRU (0-1) will begin War Eagle Conference play as they host Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn on Tuesday.
Kingsley-Pierson (1-0) will begin Western Valley Conference play at Ridge View on Tuesday.
K-P: Kills- Madison Goodwin 7, Bubke 7, Benson 4, Bohle 4; Digs- Madison Goodwin 29, Bailey 23, McKenzie Goodwin 22; Blocks- Madison Goodwin 7, Bohle 2; Aces- Bubke 4, Madison Goodwin 4; Assists- Dunne 12, Benson 6;
MMCRU: Kills- Bork 10, Dreckman 6, Ruba 6, Schwarz 6; Digs- Schwarz 10, Bork 6, Ruba 5; Aces- Dreckman 3, Olson 3, Schwarz 2; Assists- Treinen 16, Olson 16;