After meeting, Rochester wins 2nd straight TRC match
Hughes has 11 kills, Coleman, Houston 5 aces each in sweep of Peru
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
After a road loss to Manchester Tuesday, the seniors on the Rochester volleyball team were not going to let the subpar play continue.
After the bus arrived back at school, Kenzie Bradley, Kylie Houston, Emily Hughes and Lexy Thomas met in the parking lot. Then they met with coach Erin Leap.
Then came another team-wide chat between all the players and coaches on Wednesday. They did not take the floor for practice until approximately 4:40 p.m., or about an hour and a half later than usual.
In their first match since the powwows Thursday, they routed defending Three Rivers Conference champion Northfield in three sets, and they snapped up another Three Rivers Conference win with a 25-19, 25-13, 25-13 win over Peru Saturday.
Eight different Lady Zs had at least one kill, which included a team-high 11 from Hughes and eight from junior Kennedy Leap. A goal since the Manchester match was to limit the repeated free balls that they frequently shoveled over the net to the Lady Squires.
“We weren’t going to one specific person as much as we have in the past,” coach Leap said. “We didn’t discuss that by any means, but I think this week in practice was dedicated to attacking the ball, no matter what ball it is. An in-system ball or an out-of-system ball, we needed to get a swing on it, even if it wasn’t super pretty and even if it wasn’t going to be a kill.”
Kylie Coleman had Houston had five aces each and Rochester had 13 as a team.
Houston also had 19 digs and 20 serves received. Alexa Kouskousakis had 26 assists and eight digs.
Meanwhile, Rochester limited Peru to one ace. In their last two matches, Rochester has out-aces their opponents 27-2.
Peru went on a 5-0 run in Game 1 to get within 15-14. The last three points of the run all came on Rochester hitting errors.
Leap called what turned out to be the only timeout she called during the match. She reminded them of where the open spots were on the court.
“I called the timeout, so I can talk to both hitters at the same time, and they can hear me because they can’t hear me screaming the details,” coach Leap said. “I just told them during the timeout they were hitting underneath the ball and behind the ball instead of on top of the ball. That was the difference because they were just going too deep.”
A Hughes tip got the lead to 16-14. Then came a Hughes service error. Then came a Hughes kill, a Coleman kill, another Hughes kill and a Thomas stuff block within the next five points.
Rochester had breathing room at 21-16.
“We just needed a second to regroup,” Hughes said. “We knew what we needed to fix and how we needed to play in order to win that first set. So I think we just needed a second to pause and regroup and go back and play well.”
A Thomas kill, a Peru net violation and two Kennedy Leap kills closed out the game.
Back-to-back Houston aces, a Hughes kill, a Kouskousakis dump and Coleman kill sparked a 9-2 run to open Game 2.
Another five-point run included a two-handed Thomas tip from the outside, a Coleman clean ace and a Lett kill.
In Game 3, Kennedy Leap had two straight kills as Rochester got out to a 9-5 lead. Coleman had a kill and an ace, and Hughes had an ace before Kennedy Leap ended the match by putting away a Peru overpass.
“Leaps and bounds,” coach Leap said of her team’s improvement in confidence level since the Manchester match. “We sat out in the parking lot for awhile. … I was suspicious because it was just me and this other car there. I was like, ‘Who is in there?’ It was the four seniors. I stood there and talked to them for another 30 minutes. … So they said, ‘Can we have a meeting tomorrow and take charge?’ I said, ‘Absolutely,’ and let them have it. … It was a great practice.”
Said Hughes: “I think our confidence has made a huge turnaround. Wednesday we came into practice really focused. And we knew that it wasn’t necessarily our volleyball skill holding us back but our confidence and our energy on the court. And I think after we realized that, we just went out and played how we know how.”
Rochester def. Peru, 25-19, 25-13, 25-13
Kylie Coleman – 4 kills, 5 aces, 2 digs, 1 assist, 2 serves received; Lexy Thomas – 3 kills, 2 blocks, 1 dig, 4 serves received; Kennedy Leap – 8 kills, 3 blocks; Emma Sells – 1 kill, 4 digs, 3 serves received; Emily Hughes – 11 kills, 2 aces, 5 digs, 1 serve received; Alexa Kouskousakis – 3 kills, 1 ace, 1 block, 8 digs, 26 assists; Lillee Lett – 1 kill, 2 serves received; Kylie Houston – 5 aces, 19 digs, 20 serves received; Audrey Bolinger – 1 block; Rily Holloway – 4 digs, 5 serves received; Kenzie Bradley – 9 digs, 6 serves received
Kennedy Leap Kenzie Bradley