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  • Val T.

Bolinger, Durkes help Rochester sweep Maconaquah

BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS

Sports Editor, RTC

BUNKER HILL — For Audrey Bolinger, there was much leading up to the Rochester sophomore volleyball player’s performance against Maconaquah.

Haley Durkes

For sophomore teammate Haley Durkes, there was no lead-up. She had to perform, right then and there.

Both stepped up and aided bellwethers Kylie Coleman, Kennedy Leap and Alexa Kouskousakis and led the Lady Zs to a Three Rivers Conference road win over Maconaquah on Sept. 20.

Rochester won 25-22, 25-19, 25-22.

Bolinger had a career-high nine kills out of the middle and tied Kouskousakis and Coleman for team-high honors. Bolinger also had six blocks, including two stuffs and four block assists.

Three different players with nine kills is a sign of a diversifying offense.

“I feel like we move the ball around,” Rochester coach Erin Leap said. “We have a safety outlet, but I feel like we try to move the ball around as much as our passes will let us.”

Kouskousakis also led the team with 13 digs, 13 assists and two aces. Rily Holloway had 12 digs and 11 serves received, and Emma Sells had 11 digs and eight serves received. Lillee Lett had nine assists. Mia Howdeshell had nine serves received.

Rochester trailed 15-14 in Game 1 but went on a 7-2 run with Kouskousakis getting three kills.

At 21-18, a Coleman roll shot and a Kennedy Leap stuff block extended the lead to five and two more Leap kills ended any Maconaquah comeback hopes.

Rochester trailed 19-15 in Game 2 before scoring the final 10 points on Kouskousakis’ serve. Bolinger had two kills and two stuffs during the run, and Kouskousakis closed it with an ace.

Listed at 5-7, Bolinger was reacting quickly to any Lady Brave attacks and immediately sending them back or slowing them down.

She had another kill and a stuff as part of a 6-1 run in Game 3 as the Lady Zs opened a 17-12 lead. It might be considered only fitting that she ended the match with a kill.

“I honestly don’t know,” Bolinger said when asked how she was able to do what she did. “I feel like I got an extra burst of energy and my jumping height just automatically kicked in. I don’t know, but I was able to get on top of the ball, and it just felt really good because I’ve been struggling with my middle hitting this year. My blocking’s been pretty good, but my middle hitting, I’ve struggled with, so that gave me a reassurance that I can do it.”

Bolinger suffered a dislocated left kneecap in the spring playing AAU basketball. She said the injury did not require surgery, just physical therapy.

She said it’s “slowly getting there.” Open gyms during the summer really helped, she said.

“It was really mental at the beginning,” Bolinger said. “I was scared that I would dislocate it over again, so it took me a long recovery to get mentally back there, and like with that, I wasn’t where I was, so I was really struggling with that, and there were a lot of nights where I’d get down, but I knew that I had to stay up to continue as an athlete and get back to my potential.”

Said coach Leap of Bolinger: “She’s fun to watch. She gets excited. She’s young. It’s fun to watch her grow and just get better and better.”

The other key performer in Game 3 might have been Durkes. With Lett out with a vision problem, Durkes filled in at setter as part of a two-setter system with Kouskousakis and finished with a kill, four assists, three digs and a serve received.

“I am not sure what is going on with Lillee,” coach Leap said. “She was just having trouble seeing, but beyond that, I don’t know, and I don’t want to speculate. … Haley practices with us every day. She runs on the other side of the court for us. She sets our middles, and she sets our outsides every single day when they’re not in the transitioning side. So, I mean, it’s very comfortable.”

Rochester def. Maconaquah, 25-22, 25-19, 25-22

Rochester stats

Rily Holloway – 1 kill, 12 digs, 11 serves received; Kylie Coleman – 9 kills, 3 blocks, 4 digs, 1 assist, 5 serves received; Haley Durkes – 1 kill, 3 digs, 4 assists, 1 serve received; Kennedy Leap – 3 kills,1 ace, 2 blocks, 5 digs; Kylee Freant – 2 kills, 1 ace, 8 digs, 5 serves received; Alexa Kouskousakis – 9 kills, 2 aces, 2 blocks, 13 digs, 13 assists, 1 serve received; Lillee Lett – 2 kills, 5 digs, 9 assists, 4 serves received; Audrey Bolinger – 9 kills, 6 blocks, 2 digs; Darah Strasser – 1 block, 1 dig, 5 serves received; Emma Sells – 11 digs, 1 assist, 8 serves received; Mia Howdeshell – 5 digs, 1 assist, 9 serves received

JV: Rochester def. Maconaquah, 25-20, 25-22

Rochester JV stats

Haley Durkes – 6 kills, 8 assists; Mia Howdeshell – 4 aces, 9 digs, 8 assists; Darah Strasser – 3 aces, 9 digs; Rylee Clevenger – 10 serves received


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