- Val T.
Led by Hughes’ 21 kills, Rochester finishes off Lewis Cass in 4
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
WALTON –- Rochester senior libero Kylie Houston might not be the most emotional volleyball player, but even she pumped her fist after a seemingly impossible off-balance free ball from the baseline with her back to the net somehow went over the net against Lewis Cass Monday.
The Lady Zs wound up winning the point when Lewis Cass was called for a lift, and with players like Houston doggedly determined to prevent balls hitting on her side of the court and like Emily Hughes putting down 21 kills, Rochester went on to beat the host Lady Kings 25-10, 25-15, 21-25, 25-12.
Kylie Coleman and Kennedy Leap supported Hughes with five kills each. Houston had a team-high four aces, 18 digs and 16 serves received. Hughes and Lexy Thomas had three blocks each.
Junior setter Alexa Kouskousakis had 26 assists, 10 digs and four kills on well-placed dumps to the middle of the floor.
Kenzie Bradley had eight digs and 10 serves received. Rily Holloway had nine digs and eight serves received.
Rochester was back on the floor two days after going 1-3 at the Warsaw Invitational Saturday. The Lady Zs lost to Fort Wayne Northrop and Northfield, beat West Noble and lost to Fort Wayne Snider.
“It was also a team win because we did not play well Saturday,” coach Leap said. “And we just did not have any camaraderie. We just didn’t mesh very well. And so this was big, to come back from that. Because it was a bad day. To come back from that and be able to find the spark again and pick it up where we left off last week, it was definitely a good team-together win.”
Lewis Cass went on an 8-2 run in Game 3 to take an 18-12 lead. Rochester would get back to within 23-21 on a Kouskousakis dump, an Elly Logan kill error long and a Maci Garland kill error long.
But a Garland kill and a Kendal Johnson kill closed out the game.
The message in the timeout between Games 3 and 4 was not one of panic, according to coach Leap.
“I just said that we needed to go out and dominate that game,” Leap said. “I felt like we were in control of most of the third game even though the score didn’t look like it. I really thought we were going to come back and chip away and get back in that, but we were just got down too far. … I just told them to go out and play hard and have fun and play like they’ve been playing and rely on each other and talk to each other.”
The Lady Zs responded. They went on a 5-0 run to take a 10-4 lead. They went on another 5-0 run to increase the lead to 15-7. And at 18-12, they scored the last seven points of the match.
The turning point might have been at 18-12. Freshman Darah Strasser went horizontal for a dig, which went in the direction of Bradley, who stuck out her right arm and somehow kept it up in the air.
The Lady Zs free-balled it over, and the point ended when Johnson’s attempt went wide left.
“It’s definitely just luck, but we needed momentum, so I had to do whatever I could do to help us and get us going,” Bradley said.
Bradley called the weekend performance at Warsaw “a struggle,” but she said she knew they were “going to show back up and play Zebra volleyball.”
“My role is definitely just to keep everybody positive,” Bradley said. “I think that when we tend to get down, I just work to lift us up and to stay excited and to make sure nobody gets negative on themselves. And so, I just keep the team positive.”
Rochester def. Lewis Cass, 25-10, 25-15, 21-25, 25-12
Kylie Coleman – 5 kills, 2 aces, 1 dig, 1 assist; Lexy Thomas – 1 kill, 3 blocks, 5 digs, 5 serves received; Kennedy Leap – 5 kills, 1 block, 6 digs, 1 assist; Emily Hughes – 21 kills, 2 aces, 3 blocks, 6 digs, 2 serves received; Alexa Kouskousakis – 4 kills, 1 ace, 1 block, 10 digs, 26 assists; Lillee Lett – 2 kills, 1 block, 1 serve received; Audrey Bolinger – 2 kills, 1 block, 1 dig; Kylie Houston – 4 aces, 18 digs, 1 assist, 16 serves received; Rily Holloway – 9 digs, 1 assist, 8 serves received; Kenzie Bradley – 8 digs, 1 assist, 10 serves received; Emma Sells – 2 digs, 5 serves received; Darah Strasser – 3 digs, 3 serves received; Kylee Freant – 1 dig