Loss to Oak Hill means Rochester finishes 6th at Tomahawk Invitational
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
DENVER –- Rochester volleyball coach Erin Leap said her team had a successful day at the Tomahawk Invitational at North Miami on Aug. 21, but the team had to settle for a 2-2 record on the day and a sixth-place finish in a field of 12 teams after a loss to Oka Hill to close the day.
Rochester is now 2-4 on the season.
They went 1-1 in pool play, losing to eventual tournament champion Northwestern 25-16,
25-19 and beating Eastbrook 25-23, 25-23.
They rallied to beat Peru 29-31, 25-22, 15-8 in their first place-round match before losing to Oak Hill 25-23, 17-25, 15-12 to end their day.
“Overall, we had a successful day,” Leap said. “Sixth place doesn’t sound that great, but we played an awesome Northwestern team to get kicked out of that bracket, but we fought with them in Game 2. We played with them, and that was so nice to see. And then we were able to finish second in our pool and then come over here and do what we did.
“Overall, it was a really successful day. They dug deep. They played well. We were scrappy. We played a lot of defense.”
Leap also saw better blocking and hitters hitting that had not been hitting in previous matches against Plymouth and Pioneer.
Leap said the team had been working on hitting efficiency and shot placement. Though the team has taller hitters like Lexy Thomas, Emily Hughes and Kennedy Leap, it also has shorter front row players like senior Kenzie Binkley and freshman Audrey Bolinger.
“We do try in practice to hit certain spots,” Leap said. “To go line if it’s open, to go crosscourt if it’s open. This week, I did a lot of practicing on shots. I did a lot of practicing on offspeeds and tips, partly because I have a couple of shorter people in my front row now that I need to be able to place the ball in holes. … It was just a matter of I wanted them to do it in practice so they would feel confident doing it in a game.”
Rochester went on a 11-3 run in the second set of the Oak Hill match after the set was tied at 13. Hughes had three aces in a span of four points.
Hughes accounted for Rochester’s first five points in the third set of the Peru match – four kills and a stuff block. She finished with a team-high 46 kills on the day. Peru scored only one point on their serve in that decisive set. The teams will meet again in Three Rivers Conference play at the RHS gym on Sept. 2.
Senior libero Kylie Houston led the Lady Zs with 61 digs on the day.
Junior setter Alexa Kouskousakis had 80 assists in four matches.
Among other RTC area teams, Caston went 1-3 and finished in fourth place, and Winamac went 0-4 and finished in 12th place.
Northwestern beat South Adams 15-25, 25-17, 15-11 in the championship match.
ROCHESTER TEAM RESULTS
Northwestern def. Rochester, 25-16, 25-19
Rochester def. Eastbrook, 25-23, 25-23
Rochester def. Peru, 29-31, 25-22, 15-8
Oak Hill def. Rochester, 25-23, 17-25, 15-12
ROCHESTER STATS VS. NORTHWESTERN
Emily Hughes – 11 kills, 2 blocks; Kylie Houston – 3 aces, 18 digs, 19 serves received; Kenzie Bradley – 14 digs; Alexa Kouskousakis – 14 assists
ROCHESTER STATS VS. EASTBROOK
Emily Hughes – 10 kills; Kylie Houston – 2 aces, 16 digs, 11 serves received; Lexy Thomas – 2 blocks; Alexa Kouskousakis – 14 digs, 18 assists; Rily Holloway – 12 serves received
ROCHESTER STATS VS. PERU
Emily Hughes – 15 kills, 5 blocks; Emma Sells – 3 aces; Lexy Thomas – 7 kills, 3 blocks; Kylie Houston – 17 digs, 16 serves received; Kenzie Binkley – 16 digs, 11 serves received; Alexa Kouskousakis – 29 assists; Rily Holloway – 11 serves received
ROCHESTER STATS VS. OAK HILL
Emily Hughes – 10 kills, 4 aces; Lexy Thomas – 4 blocks; Kenzie Bradley – 11 digs; Kylie Houston – 10 digs, 13 serves received; Alexa Kouskousakis – 19 assists