Caston beats Rochester to place 5th at Tomahawk Invite
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
DENVER — In what might have been their first meeting in over two decades, the Caston volleyball team blocked any chance – literally – that Rochester had to beat them in the fifth-place match at the Tomahawk Invitational at North Miami Saturday.
Caston beat Rochester 22-25, 25-17, 15-5 to finish 3-1 on the day and improve their record to 6-2 overall.
Rochester went 2-2 on the day and stands at 2-4 on the season.
Caston trailed 11-6 in Game 2 but went on a 14-2 run to take a 20-13 lead. Annie Harsh had a five-point service run during that game, and Bailey Harness had two aces during her own five-point run.
Caston then went on an 11-1 run in Game to take a 14-3 lead.
Caston has two formidable middle hitters in Harness and Alexa Finke and three more front row threats in Isabel Scales, Macee Hinderlider and Ali Paul.
They left Rochester with few open lanes for attacks.
The run in Game 2 started with a kill from Paul on 1, a Hinderlider kill off the block, a deep tip from Delaney Lowry and a Harsh ace off the net.
The defining point might have occurred at 11-all when Harness ended a marathon point with a stuff block. A Lowry kill off a Rochester overpass and a Harness ace completed the run.
“The problem with us right now is just our consistency at blocking,” Caston first-year coach Gina Hierlmeier said. “It’s been a point of emphasis at practice. We’re really trying to make sure that we’re making things easier for our blockers up front, so that our back row players are not running all over the place. So if we can get to where we need to be on the block in a timely manner and time it right, I’m very pleased with where we’re at, but we still have to get better, more consistent.”
Meanwhile, Rochester coach Erin Leap said that her team could not finish at the net.
“The times that we struggled, I really feel like that was the main issue is just finishing at the net, especially early today,” Leap said. “It was just a lot of hitting out and hitting into the net. And then we had spurts where it was really good, but we still need to just work on finishing plays, especially when we’re out of system.”
Scales then had six kills in Game 3, including three consecutive tips from her outside hitter spot. The match ended with a Paul kill down the line from the outside.
Caston started their day with a 25-22, 25-16 win over North Miami before losing to South Adams 25-13, 15-25, 15-9 in their second pool play match. They then beat Oak Hill 25-22, 25-22 to reach to earn the right to play Rochester.
Caston is trying to improve on last year’s 21-11 record. Harsh and Lowry spearhead the two-setter Lady Comet system. The team had to show determination after losing to a South Adams team that has won five sectional titles in the last seven years, according to Lowry.
“So basically, right now, we’re working on working as a team and playing for our team, not just playing for ourselves,” Lowry said. “So we ultimately got in a huddle and said, ‘Hey, we just got to push through this. We got to get back on this, and we’ve just got to fight like it’s our last game ever, like sectionals basically.’ … We talk about boosting energy and being on a bus. … Working together has really helped.”
The Lady Zs lost to Northwestern 25-11, 25-13 to begin pool play before bouncing back to beat Delphi 26-24, 25-21 for their first win of the season. They then beat Peru 25-15, 25-14 to get to the fifth-place match.
“The beginning of the day started out pretty rocky, but as the day progressed, our digging got a lot better, and we just started picking up and reading stuff and just working a lot better together,” Leap said.
Winamac went 0-4 on the day, losing to Peru and Wabash and pool play and North Miami and Northfield in place round play. They are 2-7 on the season.
South Adams went 4-0 on the day to win the tournament. They beat Northwestern in two games in the semifinals and Wabash in three games in the final.
Tomahawk Invitational at North Miami results
1. South Adams, 2. Wabash, 3. Northwestern, 4. Eastbrook, 5. Caston, 6. Rochester, 7. Peru, 8. Oak Hill, 9. North Miami , 10. Delphi, 11. Northfield, 12. Winamac
Caston team results
Caston def. North Miami, 25-22, 25-16
South Adams def. Caston, 25-13, 15-25, 15-9
Caston def. Oak Hill, 25-22, 25-22
Caston def. Rochester, 22-25, 25-17, 15-5
Rochester team results
Northwestern def. Rochester, 25-11, 25-13
Rochester def. Delphi, 26-24, 25-21
Rochester def. Peru, 25-15, 25-14
Caston def. Rochester, 22-25, 25-17, 15-5
Winamac team results
Peru def. Winamac, 22-25, 26-24, 15-3
Wabash def. Winamac, 25-20, 25-9
North Miami def. Winamac, 25-18, 22-25, 15-12
Northfield def. Winamac, 25-21, 25-21