Lady Zs beat North Miami in 3, complete Miami County sweep
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
Kaitlin Rogers had 11 kills, and Kylie Houston had seven aces, five digs and five serves received to lead the Rochester volleyball team to a 25-17, 25-9, 25-7 win over North Miami at the RHS gym Thursday.
RHS won their third Three Rivers Conference match in four days – they also beat Peru
Monday and Maconaquah Tuesday – and got their season record over .500 for the first time at 6-5. They are also 4-2 in TRC play.
They remain two games behind in the loss column to Northfield, who beat Tippecanoe Valley in three games Thursday and who is the only undefeated team left in the conference. RHS lost to Northfield in four games on Sept. 17 in their conference match.
RHS plays Northfield again at 10 a.m. Saturday in the first round of the Warsaw Invitational. Another pool match against Homestead or West Noble will follow.
Hannah Houston and Carlee Blackburn contributed four kills each.
Rogers and Molly Conley had three blocks each. Dalanie Chipps had 11 digs and 14 serves received. Conley also had 20 assists and six digs.
After winning Game 1, they ran out to an 18-3 lead in Game 2 before finishing out the game with a Hannah Houston kill, a kill error from North Miami’s Lauren Duncan and a Kylie Houston ace.
RHS coach Erin Leap said the team has spent much practice working on their passing, and that has indirectly improved the team’s serving.
RHS had 12 aces for the match, and that was with Rogers taking the night off serving in place of Howdeshell.
“We serve a lot in practice because we have to practice passing,” Leap said. “So their serves are getting way strong and very good.”
North Miami fell to 1-21.
“We knew going in what it was possibly going to look like,” Leap said. “And so we just had the mentality that we weren’t going to mess around. We were just going to work on some other things that we needed to improve on.”
In Game 3, RHS led 10-5 before closing the match on a 15-2 run. Kylie Houston had four aces in a row during the run, and Rogers finished the match off with a kill.
“A ton,” Chipps answered when asked how much the team has improved since starting 2-4. “I didn’t think we were going to be very good this year because we were so far behind. But I think it turned out the way it should have.”
A lineup change prior to the Harrison Invitational on Sept. 12 has also made a difference, according to Chipps. RHS switched from a two-setter system to a one-setter system, and Chloe Harris has moved to the right back position to help out left back Chipps and middle backs Kylie Houston and Emma Howdeshell.
The serve receive issues that they showed earlier in the season have diminished.
“Emma’s improved a lot, and so has Kylie,” Chipps said. “I think switching the lineup a little bit with the back row has helped our passing a lot too because we’re all comfortable in those positions.”
ROCHESTER DEF. NORTH MIAMI, 25-17, 25-9, 25-7
Kenzie Bradley - 1 kill; Lexy Thomas - 1 kill, 1 block, 1 serve received; Emily Hughes - 3 kills, 1 dig; Kaitlin Rogers - 11 kills, 3 blocks, 1 dig, 1 assist, 1 serve received; Molly Conley - 2 kills, 2 aces, 3 blocks, 6 digs, 20 assists; Carlee Blackburn - 4 kills, 1 dig; Hannah Houston - 4 kills, 2 blocks, 1 dig; Dalanie Chipps - 1 ace, 11 digs, 14 serves received; Kylie Houston - 7 aces, 5 digs, 1 assist, 5 serves received; Emma Howdeshell - 2 aces, 1 dig, 3 serves received; Chloe Harris - 4 digs, 2 serves received