Game 4 rally caps off Valley’s win over Rochester
Updated: Oct 14, 2021
Durkes has 14 kills, Baney adds 32 digs for Lady Vikes
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
The Tippecanoe Valley volleyball team moved within one win of sharing the Three Rivers Conference title with a 25-19, 25-23, 19-25, 25-21 win over host Rochester at the RHS gym on Oct. 5.
Valley was coming off its first conference loss when it fell to Wabash five days earlier but bounced back and avenged a home loss in four sets to the Lady Zs last year.
The win improved Valley to 7-1 in the TRC. They can clinch a TRC title share with a home win over Southwood on Oct. 7. Southwood improved to 8-0 by sweeping North Miami in three games.
Valley trailed Rochester 19-13 in the fourth game before closing the match with a 12-2 run.
Senior Mallory Durkes had the kill on match point. She led Valley with 14 kills, and Ava Smith had 11 kills.
Brayden Baney and Avery Wagoner had four aces each. Emily McGriff had a team-high three blocks.
Baney, a senior libero, also had 32 digs. Abby Koch added 17 digs. Macy Kirchenstien had 36 assists to go with her 15 digs.
Lexy Thomas and Emily Hughes had 12 kills each for Rochester (10-16 overall, 4-4 TRC).
Kylie Houston had five aces, 18 digs and 20 serves received. Thomas also had four blocks and 18 serves received.
Alexa Kouskousakis had 25 assists, 11 digs and three aces.
“Just the fact that we still can’t finish a game,” Rochester coach Erin Leap said when asked what the most frustrating part of the match was. “We can get up by so many points and be dominating and have momentum and then we just can’t keep it. We just lose focus, and we can’t seem to continue doing the things that we know that we need to do when we go back to our comfort zone. We just can’t finish a game, and it’s what we’ve worked on all season, and we just still aren’t there.”
Rochester trailed 10-8 in Game 4 when they went on a 7-0 run. Thomas had a kill, Hughes had a kill off the net, Houston had two aces, Hughes had a kill, and Kouskousakis had a kill during the run.
The lead got to 19-13 when Valley was called for a double hit. But a Smith kill and an Abby Koch ace got the lead to 19-16 and led to Rochester coach Erin Leap calling timeout.
A Smith kill and a Kylie Coleman kill error made it 19-18. A Thomas kill stopped the momentum, but it was only temporary.
A Rochester service error, a Kirchenstien tip, a Baney ace and a Durkes kill gave Valley a 22-20 lead.
Leap called another timeout, but a Smith kill off the block and another Baney ace made it 24-20.
A Kennedy Leap kill on match point – Valley celebrated prematurely thinking the ball had dropped on Rochester’s side of the floor – made it 24-21, but Durkes ended it.
“We basically told them, ‘The score is nothing. Just keep pushing points. Do our individual jobs on the court. If you do your job and the next person does their job, the ball’s going to take care of itself, and we’re going to rack points,’” Valley coach Ashley Derf said. “And it worked.”
Durkes has developed the ability to hit from all angles from the front row – from the outside, an attack from the middle that she can place inside the right sideline and from the opposite.
Derf told Durkes to seek out the shortest blocker and attack that player.
“A long time,” Durkes answered when asked how long it takes to be able to hit the ball from all three front row spots. “It’s definitely something you have to be practicing and just be confident in yourself wherever you’re at.”
Valley went on a 6-0 run in Game 1 to take a 17-9 lead. Koch and Mackaylie Costello had kills, Avery Wagoner had an ace, and Durkes had two kills during the run.
Rochester would get back within 23-19 before Valley would score the final two points. Kirchenstien had a tip on game point.
Valley led 22-19 in Game 2 before Rochester scored four straight points thanks to a dig error, a ding dong play, a net violation and a Thomas stuff block.
But a Kirchenstien two-handed tip gave Valley a sideout and tied it 23-23, and Wagoner closed it out with two aces, including a clean ace on set point.
Derf called Wagoner and Costello, the team’s two regular freshmen, “awesome.”
“They did great,” Derf said. “They’ve been doing great all season. There’s a lot of talent there. They’re hungry. They are all in, live or die, on this court. They’re doing great for us.”
In Game 3, Valley cut a 15-7 deficit to 19-17, but a Valley double hit and two line violations were sandwiched around a Coleman kill to make it 23-17.
The game would eventually end on a Kouskousakis two-handed tip.
“Mentally, I think we were able to keep it together,” Durkes said.
Valley sophomore defensive specialist Erika Henderson left in the first set with an apparent knee injury. Valley also played without senior hitter Bree Sheetz.
Tippecanoe Valley def. Rochester, 25-19, 25-23, 19-25, 25-21
Macy Kirchenstien – 3 kills; Mackaylie Costello – 6 kills, 13 digs; Mallory Durkes – 14 kills, 3 aces, 2 blocks, 6 digs; Emily McGriff – 2 kills, 3 blocks; Colette Blackburn – 5 kills, 1 dig; Ava Smith – 11 kills, 2 digs; Brayden Baney – 4 aces, 32 digs, 1 assist; Avery Wagoner – 4 aces, 9 digs; Macy Kirchenstien – 3 aces, 1 block, 15 digs, 36 assists; Abby Koch – 1 ace, 17 digs, 1 assist; Sidney Nelson – 2 digs
Kylie Coleman – 2 kills, 2 aces, 2 digs, 4 serves received; Lexy Thomas – 12 kills, 4 blocks, 7 digs, 18 serves received; Kennedy Leap – 8 kills, 4 digs; Emily Hughes – 12 kills, 3 aces, 2 blocks, 4 digs, 3 serves received; Alexa Kouskousakis – 3 kills, 2 aces, 3 blocks, 11 digs, 25 assists; Audrey Bolinger – 3 kills; Kylie Houston – 5 aces, 18 digs, 1 assist, 20 serves received; Rily Holloway – 6 digs, 2 assists, 5 serves received; Kenzie Bradley – 9 digs, 8 serves received; Emma Sells – 2 digs, 5 serves received; Darah Strasser – 3 serves received; Lillee Lett – 2 serves received
Watch entire game here: