Girls have busy week in volleyball

CHRISTINE VREEMAN/SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE Audrey Webster bumps the ball for the Knights in the match against Houston.

CHRISTINE VREEMAN/SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE Alyssa Link sets the ball for Kingsland vs. Houston.

CHRISTINE VREEMAN/SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE The Kingsland volleyball team had a little fun before entering the court for a grueling five-set match against Houston. From left are Caitlin Miner, Kaysie Vreeman, Emily Biermann, Hannah Peshel, Kaycie Bellrichard, Ellie Buchholtz, Zoe Scrabeck, Shelby Beck, Alyssa Link, Audrey Webster and Emily Miner.
Bill Bentson

The Kingsland volleyball team played a lot of volleyball over three days last week, starting with a 3-2 (25-20, 21-25, 25-22, 22-25, 14-16) five-set marathon loss at Houston on Thursday, Oct. 3.

The team then hit the road for two days of competition at the Apple Valley High School’s October Classic on Friday and Saturday. The Knights took one of the five matches they played, beating Minneapolis Henry in the final match on Saturday. Kingsland volleyball is 6-16 overall (5-6 SEC) with three regular season games left.

Marathon vs. Houston

The Thursday match at Houston fit the definition of a “marathon” as it took almost three hours to finish. A typical high school match usually lasts less than two hours. Despite dropping the match, Kingsland coach Amanda Siskow said the girls played very well.

“There were so many good volleys in this game,” she said. “I think our serving is ultimately what got us in this one. When we got to the fifth set, our first three servers missed on their first attempts. That made for a tough start.”

When the serving was on, Kingsland finished with ten aces, led by three each from Caitlin Miner and Ellie Buchholtz, while Kaysie Vreeman and Hannah Peshel had two apiece.

The offense played well together, finishing with a team total of 40 kills. Buchholtz had half of that total with 20. However, she had help as five more Kingsland girls contributed at least two kills. Middle hitter Shelby Beck had six kills and a team-high three blocks. Emily Miner added five kills to go with six digs. Alyssa Link had four kills and a team-high 19 assists. Vreeman added another six assists of her own.

The back row was all over the floor, finishing the night with 67 digs. Three players were in double figures as Buchholtz and Audrey Webster tied for the lead with 17 each, while Anika Reiland added 12. Link was close to double figures with eight digs and Emily Miner added another six.

The front row defense combined for five blocks in the match.

“Despite the tough start to the fifth set, the girls battled back well,” Siskow added. “Even though we couldn’t pull off the win, I was really proud of the girls. It was a very long night, but they stayed tough to the end of the match.”

October Classic

The team jumped on the bus to head to the Twin Cities metro area to play in the October Classic, hosted by Apple Valley High School. The Knights played two matches on Friday night (Oct. 4) and another three during the day on Saturday (Oct. 5) and stepped up a couple of classes in competition several times over the weekend.

The Knights dropped their opener to Apple Valley (AAA school) on Friday night 2-0 (27-29, 22-25). They also fell to Legacy Christian Academy (Section 4A) 2-0 (11-25, 17-25) on Friday. Saturday started with a 2-1 (23-25, 25-15, 13-15) loss to Coon Rapids (AAA school). They dropped a 2-0 match (13-25, 17-25) to Winona, who would go on to lose one match against Benilde-St. Margaret’s. Kingsland won its final match against Minneapolis Henry (Section 4A)  2-0 (25-10, 25-14).

“There was a lot of tough competition over the weekend,” Siskow said. “Some of the scores don’t show how well the girls played because we held our own and stuck right with most of these teams.

“We played the host team from Apple Valley (3A school) in the first game and stuck right with them. The second match was against Legacy Christian out of Section 4A. They had a server that we had a rough time against. We struggled in serve receive and they got on several good runs.

“Saturday, we played our third match against Coon Rapids (AAA School) and this was a fun one,” Siskow recalled. “We were serving, hitting, and digging well. All three sets were close, and we saw some great things out on the court. The fourth match was against Winona (AAA School) and we just made too many mistakes. We weren’t swinging well against a good team. The girls dug deep for the fifth and final match against Henry, pulling out a 2-0 win in a really fun match. Henry was very scrappy and made us work hard for every point.”

Buchholtz (44 kills) and Shelby Beck (19) led the Kingsland attack, which finished with a total of 78 kills over the weekend. Link “quarterbacked” the offense with a team-high 43 assists, while Vreeman added nine helpers of her own.

The Knights had a total of 11 ace serves (Buchholtz 4, Webster 3).

The back-row defense was very busy, combining for a tournament total of 126 digs. Webster led the defense with a team-best 37 digs, Buchholtz had 22, and Reiland chipped in 18. The front-row defense came up with a combined 22 blocks in the tournament, led by Beck with 10.

“This was a great tournament to go to at this point in the season,” Siskow said. “It really challenged us, and I think it helped both our mental game and our physical game. I think this was good for us to do before we see our last three conference matchups. We will see Lanesboro Tuesday (Oct. 8) and Spring Grove on Thursday (Oct. 10) for Senior Night. These two teams have been strong this year, but we are looking forward to the matchups. Then we see LeRoy-Ostrander (Oct. 14) for Homecoming. We’re looking forward to seeing what we can do over the next couple of weeks.”