Knights split in busy week for volleyball


CHRISTINE VREEMAN/SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE Kingsland’s Alexis Harwood prepares to hit the ball to Lyle/Pacelli.

CHRISTINE VREEMAN/SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE Ellie Buchholtz battles for the Knights at the net vs. Lyle/Pacelli.

CHRISTINE VREEMAN/SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE Emily Biermann prepares to hit the ball for Kingsland in the match against Lyle/Pacelli.

CHRISTINE VREEMAN/SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE Kaysie Vreeman bumps the ball in Kingsland’s match against Lyle/Pacelli.
By: 
Chad Smith

The Kingsland volleyball team split a pair of games last week, starting with a 3-0 loss (16-25, 15-25, 11-25) to Grand Meadow in the Knights’ first road match of the season. Kingsland returned home to Spring Valley and won a five-set marathon against Lyle/Pacelli 3-2 (25-9, 25-19, 15-25, 14-25, 15-11).

The win put the Knights back over the .500 mark at 2-1 overall (2-1 Southeast Conference). New Kingsland coach Amanda Siskow said the team played some good volleyball in spite of being hit by injuries early in the season.

Good spurts at GM

“We saw some good volleyball in spurts, despite the loss,” Siskow said. “We played right with Grand Meadow, especially in the first set, until about the 12th point. I saw some good things and saw some things we need to work on, especially in the tipping game at the net. We really worked on that the next day in practice.

“Defending the tip game at the net is all about anticipation. We’re still a new team that’s trying to work on our timing at the net. We also have five new coaches at every level of Kingsland volleyball getting used to doing things a certain way. We didn’t get a chance to work with the kids in the summer so we’re learning as we go.”

Junior Ellie Buchholtz led the Knights at the net with six kills and a team-high five assists. Shelby Beck added four kills and a team-best three blocks. Caitlyn Miner is another front-line player the team is counting on and she added a block at the net.

“I’m really loving working with this group of kids,” Siskow said, “and so are the rest of the coaches. They want to learn, and they want to work hard. Everybody’s putting in the time and effort and the kids are really receptive and I’m thinking we’re going to have a good season.”

Sophomore Libero Audrey Webster led the back row with seven digs, while Zoe Scrabeck added five, Hannah Peshel had four, and Caitlyn Miner chipped in three. At the service line, Miner led the team with two, while Scrabeck and Beck each added one.

Momentum swings vs. L/P

The Knights returned to their home floor on Thursday night and came out playing some of their best volleyball in the early season. However, Siskow said the team couldn’t sustain that momentum and wound up going to five sets.

“Yes, we did play pretty good volleyball but seemed to lose focus in sets three and four,” she recalled. “We played the first set exceptionally well, communicating with each other the whole time on the floor.

“Lyle(-Pacelli) started to step up their game in the second set and Olivia Christianson was a big part of that. One of the kids we’re counting on to lead us is Ellie Buchholtz, who’s battling a shoulder injury. She can only set and play in the back row. Ellie can’t even serve for us. We’re hoping it’s only going to linger for a couple of weeks.”

Sophomore setter Alyssa Link is another returning veteran the coaches are counting on to lead this year’s team. She was coming on last year as a setter, especially toward the end of the season, but unfortunately injured her knee during the basketball season. “She won’t be able to play for at least another three weeks yet,” Siskow added.

“We’ve got two key players struggling with injuries right now,” she said. “At least with Ellie, we get her on the court for at least half the time. She’s sharing the setting duties right now with Kaysie Vreeman, who was last year’s JV setter. When we do finally get Alyssa back, we’ll have at least two setters on the court at any given time.”

Beck, a sophomore middle hitter, led the team with nine kills and five blocks. Miner added six kills and two blocks, while Buchholtz chipped in two kills and two blocks.

“We’ve been working on our passing game, digging the ball in the back row and moving our feet and getting to tipped balls,” Siskow said. “We want the relentless pursuit of the ball this year and the goal is nothing hits the floor.”

Webster once again led the back row with 15 digs, while Peshel added 10, Scrabeck had eight digs, and Vreeman had seven. Serving picked up from the previous match against Grand Meadow as Peshel led the team with four ace serves, while three players (Webster, Scrabeck, and Vreeman) each had three.

Buchholtz “quarterbacked” the offense with 18 assists and Vreeman had two.

Long day at MC Invite

The Kingsland volleyball team wrapped up a busy week by spending the day at the Mabel-Canton Invitational on Saturday, Aug. 31. While the Knights did take three sets, the day was long as Kingsland went 0-6 on the day.

The Knights lost the first match even though they split with Rushford-Peterson 1-1.  (16-25, 25-22). In that case, the winner is determined by totaling up the points each team scored in the two sets, meaning the Trojans won 47-41. The Knights dropped a split against Lanesboro 1-1 (16-25, 25-22). Kingsland then dropped a match against the host Cougars 2-0 (25-12, 25-5). The Knights dropped a match with Spring Grove 2-0 (25-14, 26-24). Kingsland split two sets with Houston 1-1 but lost (26-24, 19-25).

Schedule

The Knights are right back in action on Tuesday, Sept. 3, with another trip to Mabel-Canton to face the Cougars, this time in conference play. They’ll take the rest of the week off before returning to their home floor to host Houston on Tuesday, Sept. 10.