Knights fall to conference volleyball powerhouse


Alyssa Link sets the ball for the Knights. CHRISTINE VREEMAN/SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE
By : 
CHAD SMITH
SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE

The Kingsland volleyball team lost its only game of the week, falling to Mabel-Canton 3-0 (15-25, 20-25, 14-25) on Tuesday, Sept. 4.

The Southeast Conference match went in favor of the Cougars who are winners of the past 20-straight conference titles. The Knights fall to 4-7 overall (2-2 SEC) but head coach Sam Hanley says the team is finding a consistent player-rotation and starting to show flashes of more consistent volleyball. 

“Now that we’ve figured out our core group of players, I expect things will start to come a little easier and with more consistency,” Hanley said. “I think, with a little bit of luck, we can start to straighten things out over the course of the next several weeks.”

Receiving serve is still an Achilles’ heel for the Knights (as it is for many other teams early in the season). The team went 33 of 64 (51 percent efficiency) in serve receive total against the hard-serving Cougars. The back row did come away with 53 digs, led by Taylor Zimmerman with 17, Lauren Buchholtz with 16, and Ellie Buchholtz with 11.

The Knights hit 40 of 48 serves (83 percent) against Mabel-Canton. Freshman Alyssa Link led the squad with 11 serves in 12 attempts. Senior Nora Jahn was eight for 10 from the line.

Kingsland had a good number of attack chances against the smaller front line of the Cougars but couldn’t convert them consistently. The Knights were 20 of 94 (21 percent) in their opportunities at the net. Lauren Buchholtz led the team with 12 kills and Ellie Buchholtz had eight. The rest of the team could only muster three more kills, with two from Hailey Westphal and one from Jahn (team-high 15 set assists).

Westphal, a senior middle hitter, led the front-row defense with three ace blocks, Link added 2.5, and Ellie Buchholtz had two of the team’s 8.5 total.

“We’re working on the less-is-more strategy,” Hanley said. “We’re working on establishing roles and getting the girls to concentrate on their jobs. We’re trying to get the girls to keep it simple. There are flashes of good volleyball. They’re small, but they are noticeable.”

Schedule

The volleyball team was scheduled to be back in action on Tuesday, Sept. 11, on the road at Houston for an SEC matchup. The Knights have a big conference home match against Grand Meadow on Thursday night, and then get the weekend off before heading back out on the road to Lanesboro on Tuesday, Sept. 18. 

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