Manchester puts down late Rochester rally, wins in 3
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
NORTH MANCHESTER –- The Rochester volleyball team lost the first two games to host Manchester Tuesday, and they trailed 24-18 in Game 3.
And then they won six straight points before the Lady Squires became unwilling to participate in the Lady Zs’ Hollywood ending.
Manchester got a kill from McKelvey Espeset that landed just on the baseline to give them a seventh match point and another kill from Leyna Borgmann to close the match out and complete a 25-20, 25-20, 26-24 win.
Rochester fell to 3-11 overall and 0-2 in the Three Rivers Conference. They are 0-6 since coming back from a one-week pause during the week of Aug. 30.
Emily Hughes led the Rochester front line with 12 kills and three blocks. Alexa Kouskousakis had 11 digs and 21 assists. Kylie Houston had 16 digs and 26 serves received.
Inefficient hitting bothered the Lady Zs, according to coach Erin Leap.
“We can’t finish,” Leap said when asked what her biggest concern is. “We can get out, and we can go, and then we can’t finish. And sometimes we don’t get out. We play catch-up, and then we can’t finish. So we need to work on finishing.”
The biggest positive from the match might be the team’s improving health as senior middle hitter Lexy Thomas and sophomore defensive specialist Emma Sells came back from their injuries. Thomas had five kills and serves received, and Sells had five digs and five serves received.
“It’s huge to have our start-of-the-season team back together,” Leap said. “(Monday) was our first day with everybody there, everybody practicing again. So we had to kind of had to relearn where to go and what’s happening. But hopefully, we’ll get there.”
Manchester improved to 3-8, 1-3. Espeset had nine kills, and Borgmann had seven for Manchester.
Historical volleyball records are somewhat unclear, but it’s fairly certain that this was Manchester’s first win over Rochester in a decade.
Manchester handcuffed Rochester with their serving all night. The Lady Squires had 17 aces as compared to the Lady Zs’ five.
Game 1 was tied 17-17 before Manchester finished on an 8-3 run. Game 2 was tied 18-18 before Manchester finished on a 7-2 run.
Manchester then led 16-7 in Game 3 before Richester crept back into it. A Kouskousakis tip and a back row kill from Hughes on two cut the lead to 21-17.
But when Kennedy Leap attacked long and Blake Drasny’s serve hit the tape and crept over the net, Manchester led 24-18.
A Thomas two-handed tip, a Drasny kill error, a Kennedy Leap flat-footed kill and a Kouskousakis tip at the net led to a Manchester timeout.
It didn’t stop the momentum.
Kouskousakis put a blind dump in the center of the Manchester court. And when Kenzie Bradley’s do-or-die dig led to a Thomas kill, Rochester had warded off six straight match points and had gotten the game even for the first time since it was 3-3.
“If we could have just had an opportunity to get a game point, we could have got it,” coach Leap said. “We really wanted it to go five. It just didn't happen.”
MANCHESTER DEF. ROCHESTER, 25-20, 25-20, 26-24
Kylie Coleman – 4 kills, 2 aces, 5 digs, 3 serves received; Lexy Thomas – 5 kills, 1 block, 2 digs, 7 serves received; Kennedy Leap – 7 kills, 1 block, 3 digs; Emily Hughes – 12 kills, 3 blocks, 2 digs; Kylie Houston – 1 kill, 1 ace, 16 digs, 26 serves received; Alexa Kouskousakis – 6 kills, 2 aces, 11 digs, 21 assists; Audrey Bolinger – 2 blocks, 2 digs; Rily Holloway – 7 digs, 5 serves received; Kenzie Bradley – 11 digs, 2 serves received; Emma Sells – 5 digs, 5 serves received