Kouskousakis’ 12 kills highlight Rochester sweep over North Miami
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
Alexa Kouskousakis had 12 kills, and Kylie Coleman, Kennedy Leap and Lillee Lett had six kills each for the host Rochester volleyball team in a 25-20, 25-17, 25-11 win over North Miami on Sept. 22.
Lett also had a team-high 13 assists while Kouskousakis had 12 assists. Senior Rily Holloway also had 16 digs and 18 serves received. Kylee Freant had 12 digs and Kouskousakis had 11. Audrey Bolinger had five kills, two blocks and three digs from her middle hitter spot.
Meanwhile, North Miami was held to one ace for the match.
“Our passing was on point tonight, and if it wasn't right to target, it was pretty close,” Rochester coach Erin Leap said. “But we’ve been stressing that a lot. You can’t do anything without that first pass, so we’ve really been working that first pass.”
Holloway, junior Emma Sells and sophomore Mia Howdeshell are the three primary serve receivers.
“In practice, that’s what we work on most of the time actually,” Holloway said. “We try to involve passing with everything because we know serve receive needs to improve, and we were like, we need to get these balls down to make it easier for our setters to set the balls because if we don’t have a good pass, we’re not going to have a good set, and we’re not going to get the kill.”
Rochester was clinging to a 22-20 lead in Game 1 before a Coleman kill that landed just inside the baseline, a North Miami dig error on a Lett attack and a Bolinger tip closed out the game.
The Lady Zs then went on a 7-0 run in Game 2 to turn a 4-3 deficit into a 10-4 lead. Freant had two aces and Kouskousakis had four kills during the run, including a roll shot that made it 9-4 and a deep tip that finished off the run.
Kouskousakis would cap another 6-1 run with a dump to make it 24-14, and Rochester finally chased in on their fourth game point on a Bolinger back row kill.
In Game 3, Coleman had two aces and two service winners as part of an 11-0 run to open the game. The lead would eventually reach 17-2 before Rochester would cruise to the finish line.
“I felt like going into that third set, there was a possibility that we were going to let up a little bit, and I didn’t want that to happen, and I told the girls, ‘OK, you’ve got to go harder now because it’s going to be easy to let off the gas.’ … But they stayed right on it, and they did a really good job. They just wanted to win that set, and they did.”
Holloway the libero
Holloway texted coach Leap and told her she wanted to be the libero. Summer practices were geared towards her playing that spot. Kylie Houston filled that role last year, but she graduated.
“I like it a lot more than playing just a DS (defensive specialist),” Holloway said. “I feel like I’m more involved in every play and everything, and Isee the court a lot better.”
She said that Kennedy Leap and Bolinger’s blocks have made her job easier.
“When they get a good block, it’s like, ‘Oh, wow, it just comes off their hands, and it’s easier for me to pass the ball rather than the ball just coming down really hard. So it’s good that they just slow the ball down and get their hands on the ball.”
ROCHESTER DEF. NORTH MIAMI, 25-20, 25-17, 25-11
Kylie Coleman – 6 kills, 3 aces, 1 block, 6 digs, 1 assist; Kennedy Leap – 6 kills, 3 aces, 1 block, 1 dig; Alexa Kouskousakis – 12 kills, 1 ace, 11 digs, 12 assists, 2 serves received; Lillee Lett - 6 kills, 5 digs, 13 assists, 3 serves received; Audrey Bolinger – 5 kills, 2 blocks, 3 digs; Kylee Freant – 2 aces, 1 block, 12 digs, 1 assist, 3 serves received; Rily Holloway – 16 digs, 18 serves received; Emma Sells – 2 digs, 1 assist, 9 serves received; Darah Strasser – 4 digs, 1 assist, 3 serves received; Mia Howdeshell – 4 digs, 3 serves received
JV: ROCHESTER DEF. NORTH MIAMI, 25-20, 25-19
Rochester JV stats
Mia Howdeshell – 10 kills, 7 assists; Haley Durkes – 3 aces, 14 assists; Rylee Clevenger – 16 digs, 10 serves received; Darah Strasser – 8 digs, 7 serves received