BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
Alexa Kouskousakis had eight kills, Kylie Coleman had four kills, and Rily Holloway had a team-high 21 digs and 18 serves received as the Rochester volleyball team earned a 25-20, 25-23, 26-24 Three Rivers Conference home win over Manchester on Sept. 13.
Lillee Lett had a team-high nine assists to go with her nine digs. Mia Howdeshell contributed nine digs and 13 serves received.
Rochester improved to 6-10 overall and 2-1 in the TRC.
With Game 2 tied 23-23, Rochester got a sideout when Manchester freshman Myla Crozier attacked into the net.
On set point, Holloway’s serve was passed too tight to the net, and Peyton Ream’s set to Gracie Lauer got dug into the net to give Rochester a 2-0 lead. Rochester had 21-13 before Manchester went on a 9-1 run to even it up.
Manchester had a pair of set points at 24-22 in the third set before Rochester coach Erin Leap called timeout. The Lady Zs scored four straight points out of the timeout to end the match.
The run started with a Lauer kill attempt into the net. Kennedy Leap followed with a kill on an overpass, then Myla Crozier put a kill attempt into the net, and the match ended with a McKelvey Espeset kill attempt going long to end a marathon point.
Rochester had trailed 19-12 at one point in the third.
“I called timeout and just said we had to refocus,” Rochester coach Erin Leap said. “It doesn’t matter how far behind we are. We need to chip away and come back. Because before the game started, we talked about we’ve been down in games before and been able to come back and catch them. … They took the challenge and went out there and did it.”
The Lady Zs screamed out to a 12-3 lead in Game 1 and held on for the win. Coleman and Audrey Bolinger teamed up for a stuff block during that run, and Kylee Freant had a kill from the opposite side and an ace. Bolinger, a sophomore middle hitter, capped the run with a kill.
Rochester was coming off a 1-3 showing at the Harrison (West Lafayette) Invitational three days earlier.
“At our Harrison tournament, we were low on energy,” Coleman said. “Today the energy was there. … We were mentally prepared to come into this game. We knew that Manchester was at equal skill level that we were. We knew that we could pull out the win. … It feels amazing.”
Coleman, a senior, is hitting from the opposite for the first time this year.
“Coach Leap has me out there to basically set up the middle hitter and get kills,” Coleman said. “We always start out with hard teams to play with, but it makes us better in the end.”
Rochester also won the JV match 16-25, 25-18, 15-13.
Rochester def. Manchester, 25-20, 25-23, 26-24
Rily Holloway – 1 kill, 21 digs, 18 serves received; Kylie Coleman – 4 kills, 1 ace, 1 block, 3 digs, 1 serve received; Kennedy Leap – 3 kills, 3 blocks, 6 digs; Kylee Freant – 1 kill, 1 ace, 2 blocks, 3 digs, 3 serves received; Alexa Kouskousakis – 8 kills, 1 ace, 8 digs, 6 assists, 5 serves received; Lillee Lett – 1 kill, 1 ace, 1 block, 9 digs, 9 assists, 4 serves received; Audrey Bolinger – 2 kills, 1 block, 1 dig; Emma Sells – 9 digs, 4 serves received; Darah Strasser – 4 digs, 3 serves received; Mia Howdeshell – 9 digs, 13 serves received
JV: Rochester def. Manchester, 16-25, 25-18, 15-13
Rochester JV stats
Mia Howdeshell – 5 kills, 6 assists; Rylee Clevenger – 4 aces, 17 digs, 13 serves received; Darah Strasser – 10 digs, 10 serves received; Haley Durkes – 5 assists