- Val T.
Culver volleyball sweeps grieving Argos
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
ARGOS — The Culver volleyball team finished the match with a 13-2 run to complete a three-game sweep of host and sectional rival Argos 25-7, 25-8, 25-19 at Phil Weybright Gymnasium on Sept. 6.
Brynn Berndt had five kills, five assists and nine digs to lead Culver, who improved to 9-4.
After cruising through the first two sets, Culver trailed 12-17 in the third before rallying.
“We called a timeout, and we just reset our mentality,” Culver coach Andrea Berndt said. “We would love to not be in that situation again, so we just reset our mentality. … We talked about it was just in our heads, and the communication level shut down, and we needed to bring things back.”
Culver won 16 matches total in a four-year span from 2017-20. They won twice as many matches in 2021 (10) than they did in 2020 (5). Now they appear bound to exceed their 2021 win total this year.
“That has been something we have been waiting on at Culver for years,” coach Berndt said. “So I want to say this has been something that years and years have passed on to where we are right now to get to where we are and that not-losing mindset, and that hopefully is going to stay with us. But that goes out to the girls of the past too.”
Culver had 15 aces as compared to Argos’ six. Taylor Darnell led with six aces.
Passing issues have troubled Argos all season, according to first-year coach Nichole Walter.
“Serve-receive fell apart really fast,” Walter said. “We just weren’t getting to our seams, and we weren’t getting a good first ball up to our setters, and we had to play scrappy, and we couldn’t get any good kills.”
Walter is not only a new coach, but she is helming a fairly new roster. Eight seniors graduated from last year’s team. She said the team is “100 times better” than it was a month ago.
“A ton, a ton,” Walter said, when asked how much the team has worked on fundamentals. “Skills, skills, skills, skills, skills. Passing, setting, kills. … A lot of it is new to them. A lot of different plays that we’re running – our offense, we’re trying to run some shoots, some 72s, a lot of that is different for them.”
The match had a somber atmosphere after the death of Argos junior volleyball player Emily Carr, 16, in a car accident on Aug. 20. Walter said a larger than normal number of Argos students were in the stands gave the players “fire to keep going.”
Not only were they there to cheer on their classmates against their rival, but they also were there to help in the grieving process.
The process is ongoing.
“We are definitely up and down,” Walter said. “You can definitely read it on their faces. … There’s definitely something missing from our program. You know, when you go out there and you see girls (and) they try so hard but then they feel like they’re doing this for Emily and then they miss a ball, you can just see on their face that it’s more of a letdown than just a normal ball that they would miss.”
Culver def. Argos, 25-7, 25-8, 25-19
Grace Sieber – 1 kill, 3 aces, 3 assists; Maegan Pearl – 1 kill, 2 aces, 2 digs, 1 serve received; Brynn Berndt – 5 kills, 9 digs, 5 assists, 2 serves received; Taylor Darnell – 1 kill, 6 aces, 2 digs, 2 serves received; Tyra King – 2 kills; Avery Garland – 3 kills, 1 aces, 1 assist, 7 serves received; Livi Overmyer – 1 kill, 2 serves received; Ashley Pugh – 1 kill, 1 dig; Willow Harrington – 3 kills; Anna Lewis – 3 aces, 1 dig, 2 serves received; Chloe Danti – 4 digs, 4 assists; Shelby Olivarez – 1 assist, 5 serves received
Brylee Elliott – 1 kill, 2 blocks, 2 serves received; Alison Grothaus – 1 kill, 2 aces, 4 assists, 3 serves received; Kaitlyn DeWulf – 2 kills, 1 ace, 11 digs, 2 assists, 6 serves received; Shelbi Weiser – 2 kills, 1 ace, 1 block; Anastasia Lindsley – 2 kills, 11 digs, 2 assists, 5 serves received; Alexis Schenkel – 1 ace, 3 serves received; Isabelle DeWulf – 1 ace, 15 digs, 9 serves received; Kendra Milliser – 2 serves received; Lillianna McMillen – 3 serves received
Watch full match here: