Hughes has 5 kills, but Southwood stops Rochester in 3 sets
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
WABASH –- Emily Hughes led Rochester with five kills, and Kylie Coleman added four, but the Rochester volleyball team lost to hostSouthwood 25-20, 25-16, 25-11 in their Three Rivers Conference opener Thursday.
Coleman, Hughes, Kenzie Bradley and Kylie Houston had one ace each.
Kennedy Leap had three blocks.
Houston had 13 digs and 16 serves received. Bradley had 11, and Alexa Kouskousakis had 10.
Kouskousakis also had nine assists.
They played without senior middle hitter Lexy Thomas and sophomore defensive specialists Emma Sells due to injuries. Freshman Darah Strasser saw extensive playing time filling in for Sells in the back row.
Marissa Metzger had eight kills, and Alaina Winer had seven for Southwood. Junior Alli Lopez handcuffed the Lady Zs with 10 aces, mixing hard serves that seemingly skidded over the net with short float serves that often found open court.
Southwood went with a two-setter system. Grace Drake led with 13 assists, and Lopez had 10.
Southwood trailed 15-13 in Game 1 but went on a 7-2 run to take a 20-17 lead.
Rochester led 8-6 in Game 2, but Southwood went on a 7-0 run with Lopez serving.
A 13-2 Southwood in Game 3 gave Southwood a 24-8 lead. Rochester scored only two points on their serve in the final game.
Leap said the team got frustrated in Game 3.
“We just weren’t finishing plays,” Rochester coach Erin Leap said. “I just think they started getting down on themselves. I don’t think they started getting down on each other.”
Rochester was playing their first match in two weeks. Citing medical privacy laws, Leap declined to say why last week’s matches against Lewis Cass and Peru were postponed.
The team lost at home to Culver Academy on Aug. 26 but did not convene again until a practice on Sept. 6.
They got in three practices before having to play their archrival in their home gym.
“They have really good servers, and it’s amazing how our muscle memory leaves us,” Leap said. “That’s why we usually never go more than a day. I don’t allow more than one day between passing.”
Leap called Metzger “versatile.” Metzger was a weapon when Southwood ran offense out of the middle. Thomas, Rochester’s most experienced middle blocker, was out.
“Metzger’s got a good arm on her, and we wanted to get the ball to her in certain situations,” Southwood coach Tom Finicle said. “But yeah, she’s pretty efficient. She does a really nice job in our serve reception pattern when she comes down out of the middle.”
Leap declined to specify Sells’ injury but said she was cleared to begin practicing on Friday.
Thomas is “on the mend,” according to Leap. Leap declined to specify Thomas’ injury or a return date.
“Hopefully, we’ll get her back as well,” Leap said.
Finicle said Rochester “punched us right in the mouth” to start the match. He praised Kouskousakis afterwards.
“The Rochester setter plays 100 miles an hour,” Finicle said. “I like what she did. Incredibly energetic, smiled, happy. Loved the game. Number 8 for them (Hughes) hits a heavy ball. We were fortunate enough to keep them out of system.”
Southwood def. Rochester, 25-20, 25-16, 25-11
Kylie Coleman – 4 kills, 1 ace, 4 digs, 1 serve received; Kennedy Leap – 1 kill, 3 blocks, 1 dig, 2 serves received; Emily Hughes – 5 kills, 1 ace, 1 block, 1 dig; Alexa Kouskousakis – 1 kill, 2 blocks, 10 digs, 9 assists; Audrey Bolinger – 1 kill, 2 digs; Kenzie Bradley – 1 ace, 11 digs, 13 serves received; Kylie Houston – 1 ace, 13 digs, 16 serves received; Rily Holloway – 3 digs, 1 assist, 7 serves received; Darah Strasser – 7 digs, 7 serves received
Watch entire JV-V matches here: