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  • Val T.

Aggressive Caston recovers after dropping first set, beats NM in 4

Finke, Scales, Hinderlider combine for 39 kills


Sports Editor, RTC

Alexa Finke

DENVER — Caston volleyball coach Gina Hierlmeier has preached an aggressive mindset for her team.

Keep attacking. Hitting errors might occur, but the Lady Comets kept host North Miami on the defensive to earn a 25-27, 25-11, 26-24, 25-11 win Monday and improve to 19-5 on the season.

Senior middle hitter Alexa Finke led Caston with 15 kills and six blocks. Isabel Scales added 13, Macee Hinderlider had 11, and Addison Zimpleman had nine.

Caston also had 18 aces as a team, including nine from Hinderlider.

Scales led in digs with 13, and Finke (12), Zimpleman (12) and senior Annie Harsh (10) also reached double figures.

Zimpleman and Scales also had 19 serves received each. Hinderlider had

Addison Zimpleman


This marked the first of three road matches in four days for Caston. They also travel to North Judson Tuesday and Knox Thursday.

North Miami fell to 9-18. They also lost to Caston 25-23, 25-17 at the Tomahawk Invitational at North Miami on Aug. 19.

The third set was harried for Caston. They led 23-16 after back-to-back Hinderlider aces, but North Miami won eight consecutive points and obtained a set point after Zimpleman hit wide left from the outside, and Hinder hit long.

North Miami’s Chloe Sparks had served the previous seven points, but with the set in her hands, her serve floated about a foot past the baseline.

A Scales kill gave Caston a set point, and a perfectly placed roll shot from Zimpleman – not quite a tip, not quite a full swing – that landed inside the baseline gave Caston the lead in the match.

“I’m more concerned that we got ourselves in that position,” Hierlmeier said when reflecting on the third set. “Because I think at one point in time, we were up 23-16, and so I was more concerned about that. This match was good for us. We’ve had success, like even earlier in set one, where we’ve gotten it to a tie situation, and we haven’t been able to finish.

“So I knew they were going to keep coming at us. They’ve got great hitters. They’ve got great blockers.”

Finke and Hinderlider dominated during an 11-2 run to open the fourth set. Finke started the set with an athletic lefty tip and then combined with Hinderlider for a stuff block. A Hinderlider kill and a Finke stuff block made it 4-0.

Back-to-back Hinderlider aces, a Finke kill off a North Miami overpass and a Zimpleman kill capped the run.

North Miami would hang within 18-11 before Caston would close with the final seven points. Harsh had three aces during the run.

In addition to the aces and digs, Harsh also had 23 assists while Makena Middleton had 12.

Harsh shared setting responsibilities with Delaney Lowry last year and has shared that role with Middleton this year.

“It didn’t change that much,” Harsh said when asked to compare her role from last year to this year. “I just became the older setter, I guess, (and) the example for Makena. So I mean, I moved up to that spot, but my role didn’t really change that much.”

Caston led 24-23 in the first set, but a Kayden Donaldson kill and a Caston hitting error gave North Miami a set point. A Scales kill got it to 25-all, but a stuff block from impressive freshman Donaldson and a double-hit on Caston gave North Miami the set.

From there, Caston jumped to an 11-2 lead in the second set and closed it on a 9-0 run after North Miami got within 16-11.

Hierlmeier was asked about Caston’s hitting accuracy.

“One thing that we’ve really tried to work on this year is making our hitters aggressive,” Hierlmeier said. “I want them to be aggressive, and sometimes when you’re aggressive, you’re going to give up some points because you’re going to hit things out of bounds and you’re going to hit things into the net. I thought we picked it up each set and were able to find some ways to make some adjustments on their block that made us far more efficient.”

Freshman Natalie Warner also is getting playing time at middle hitter. Warner moved to the Caston district from Brownsburg and stands 6-0.

“She had an ankle injury, and she’s been trying to play out of that,” Hierlmeier said. “She’s been released, and we had to get practices in, so we’re just trying to see where she fits into our lineup. Obviously, she’s 6-0… so if we can utilize her at the net for blocking purposes, we’re going to try and do that as much as possible.”

Caston def. North Miami, 25-27, 25-11, 26-24, 25-11

Caston stats

Karlee Sommers – 1 kill, 1 block, 2 assists, 3 serves received; Macee Hinderlider – 11 kills, 9 aces, 2 blocks, 7 digs, 15 serves received; Alexa Finke – 15 kills, 6 blocks, 12 digs, 2 assists, 7 serves received; Addison Zimpleman – 9 kills, 4 aces, 1 block, 12 digs, 1 assist, 19 serves received; Natalie Warner – 1 kill, 1 assist, 1 serve received; Isabel Scales – 13 kills, 2 aces, 13 digs, 2 assists, 19 serves received; Annie Harsh – 3 aces, 10 digs, 23 assists; Makena Middleton – 2 digs, 12 assists

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