Following a 25-23 first-set win, South O’Brien had positioned itself to come away with a sweep against visiting MMCRU during Pink Out night September 30 at Paullina. The home team held leads in the next two sets, only to see the Royals rally for hard-fought wins of 26-24 and 25-23. The Wolverines fell behind in set four but rallied to force MMCRU to earn a 25-20 victory to take the game 3-1. South O’Brien saw its record fall to 2-5 in the War Eagle Conference and 3-14 overall.
Wolverine head coach Cortney Roskamp felt that her team was able to do a good job on most of the MMCRU hitters but the Royals’ Emily Dreckman was not to be denied. She had rotated back to the front row late in final three sets and was a big reason those sets went the way the Royals. “She is a phenomenal athlete and even though we cheated in our block, she just out jumped us and was faster than us at the net,” stated Roskamp. The MMCRU senior recorded 27 kills on a night when no other Royal had more than seven.
Though victory escaped them, the Wolverines came away with some positives. Said Roskamp, “There were a lot of things I’m proud of the girls for including their work behind the service line and the work our hitters did offensively, especially, Kenna Bauer. Just as we didn’t have an answer for Dreckman, they didn’t have an answer for Bauer most of the night. She found a way around and over the block.”
Coaches are always looking for improvement and Roskamp saw room for it in one particular area against the Royals. “The biggest thing is that we needed to clean up our defense of the outer third of the court,” said the coach. “Many times, we were creeping in and that’s why we weren’t able to dig up the cross court shots or the sideline tips. With the sets being that close, a few more digs could have been the difference in the outcome of the game.”
Bauer pounded out a total of 13 kills. The Wolverines got seven kills apiece from Willa Sickelka, Grace Fuhrman and Lydia Hustedt. Riley Draper’s assist total was 33.
Maddie Johnson and Fuhrman each recorded three solo blocks while Bauer and Hustedt added two solos apiece. Reaching double-digits in digs were Abby Schreck with 16, Hustedt with 12 and Sickelka with 10. Sickelka had an 11-for-11 serving night with three aces. Draper also served three aces while Bauer, Hustedt, Johnson and Schreck each notched two ace serves.
South O’Brien Stats
Kills-Errors-Attempts (Kill Efficiency): Team 41-15-121 (.215), Riley Draper 2-0-7 (.286), Willa Sickelka 7-3-28 (.143), Kenna Bauer 13-3-27 (.370), Grace Fuhrman 7-2-22 (.227), Lydia Hustedt 7-5-19 (.105), Maddie Johnson 5-1-14 (.286), Abby Schreck 0-1-4 (-.250).
Assists: Team 38, Draper 33, Schreck 2, Sickelka, Bauer, Johnson 1.
Digs: Team 52, Schreck 16, Hustedt 12, Sickelka 10, Draper 6, Bauer 4, Whitney Einck 2, Fuhrman, Johnson 1.
Blocks: Fuhrman, Johnson 3 solo, Bauer, Hustedt 2 solo.
Serving (Efficiency): Team 78-90 (.867) 14 aces, Draper 16-18 (.889) 3 aces, Sickelka 11-11 (1.000) 3 aces, Bauer 14-16 (.875) 2 aces, Hustedt 14-16 (.875) 2 aces, Johnson 10-13 (.769) 2 aces, Schreck 13-16 (812) 2 aces.