Busy week ends successfully for volleyball team


CHRISTINE VREEMAN/SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE Kaycie Bellrichard bumps the ball for Kingsland in a match against Randolph.

CHRISTINE VREEMAN/SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE Kingsland’s Ellie Buchholtz hits around two Randolph defenders.

CHRISTINE VREEMAN/SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE Caitlin Miner blocks a Randolph attack for the Knights.
By: 
Chad Smith

The Kingsland volleyball team had a busy schedule last week that kicked off with a match against Houston that was in progress when it was postponed earlier in the season due to condensation on the court in Spring Valley.

The Knights won a five-set marathon 3-2 (21-25, 25-21, 21-25, 25-15, 17-15) over the course of a couple days against Houston. Then, Kingsland lost a home match and the season series to Mabel-Canton, falling to the Cougars 3-0 (13-25, 17-25, 15-25). They wrapped up the week with a Thursday night match at home against Randolph, which the Knights won 3-0 (25-16, 25-17, 25-19).

The Knights are 5-11 overall (5-5 SEC).

Match continues vs. Houston

The Monday night match was an interesting challenge for the Knight volleyball team. Kingsland actually began the night down 1-0 in the match, starting the night in the second set tied at 7-all. Kingsland coach Amanda Siskow said it was tough for the girls to start a match already down a set without a single serve from either side.

“We were still battling a slippery floor that night so I’m glad we were able to finish the volleyball match,” she said. “We struggled a little with our serving in the third set but otherwise played really well. The girls were just really intense that night and rushing our serves during that third set.”

Ellie Buchholtz led the Kingsland attack with 15 kills, adding six digs and five assists. Shelby Beck chipped in six kills, three digs, and three ace serves. Alyssa Link has settled into the setter role since returning from injury, leading the team again with 23 assists while adding five digs and three ace serves. Zoe Scrabeck led the team with five aces against Houston.

Hannah Peshel led the back-row defense with seven digs.

“The team did a really good job of rallying after starting the match already down a set,” she added. “We had to really be mentally tough and I think it was great for us to have to do that and then came out with the win.”

Mabel-Canton wins again

The Knights dropped a home match to Mabel-Canton the next night, losing the two-game, regular-season series to the state-ranked Cougars. Siskow said the team showed flashes of good volleyball against Mabel-Canton but the Cougars defense is what makes them so tough this season.

“Their defense is just amazing,” Siskow said. “Our second set was really good. We missed three or four serves that would have made the 17-25 score much closer than that. Overall, the rallies were phenomenal, the difference was they just dug up the ball a little better than we did. It’s hard to find a hole on Mabel-Canton’s side of the court.“

As proof of that, Ellie Buchholtz, the team’s top attacker at the net in recent weeks, only finished with nine kills. Alyssa Link, whose assist totals have been in the 20s recently, only came up with 12 assists against the Cougars.

Defensively, Audrey Webster was all over the back row, finishing the match with a phenomenal 16 digs. Caitlin Miner added one dig to go with her six kills.

Still at home vs. Randolph

The Rockets have been a solid Southeast Conference volleyball team for several years, which means the 3-0 win for Kingsland on Thursday was a phenomenal win to wrap up three-in-a-row at home in Spring Valley.

“I was so excited about that win,” she said. “I didn’t expect to sweep them in three-straight sets at all. I was expecting to have to go to five. They’re a really good team, we were just on-point all night. We spent a lot of time on Wednesday working on things like quick sets and being in rhythm. We placed the ball well all night long.”

Buchholtz was back in double figures with 21 kills, adding three blocks and two ace serves. Anika Reiland got into the action with 10 kills. Beck added another six kills and Emily Miner had four. Alyssa Link had the offense humming with 27 set assists.

“I’ve got three girls who know how to set but getting Alyssa back in action has been great,” Siskow said. “She is really consistent at placing the ball and I think she’s got beautiful hands for the job. She may have been called for a double hit one time since she’s been back in varsity competition.”

The amazing thing is Link suffered a serious knee injury last year but Siskow said her court coverage is great. “Her mobility is phenomenal,” she said. “She’s been able to have full-contact practice all season, so that helps a lot. Kaysie Vreeman and Ellie did a phenomenal job filling in while Alyssa was out. However, that meant we lost Ellie as a hitter. Kaysie has been a fantastic backup setter for both of them.”

Defensively, Webster had another solid night with a team-high 14 digs. Peshel and Emily Bierman each added six digs.

Schedule

The Knights have a couple of days to practice before they start the week on Thursday, Oct. 3, at Houston, where they’ll try to sweep the regular-season series from the Hurricanes. Friday and Saturday, the Kingsland girls will be at Apple Valley High School for a two-day tournament. They’re back to SEC action the following Tuesday, Oct. 8, at Lanesboro.