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  • Val T.

Pioneer volleyball gets a kick out of beating Knox

Borges has 9 kills vs. Knox as Rance helps win point with foot


Sports Editor, RTC

Elizabeth Rance

ROYAL CENTER — Volleyball is a full contact sport.

However you can get the ball over the net is legal as long as you essentially don’t catch the ball or over the net or deflect it off the ceiling to get it over.

The ball can bat off one’s elbows or chest or head.

Pioneer senior Elizabeth Rance was aware of the rule when she kicked a ball over the net – gently but accurately before it hit the floor – during a rally with her team leading 14-8 in the third set in a home Hoosier North match against Knox on Sept. 5.

The point eventually ended with a kill from her teammate Kylie Attinger, and Pioneer went on to win 25-13, 25-18, 25-18.

The win marked Pioneer’s 33rd consecutive conference win.

Rance said she had never kicked the ball over the net in a match before, and she said she had never practiced it.

“I just saw the ball going, so I kicked it,” Rance said. “I didn’t know what else to do. It was just like there, so I kicked it.”

Were you shocked that it went over the net?

“Yes,” Rance said. “I was not even expecting it.”

Is that the craziest thing you have ever done in a volleyball match?

“Probably, yeah,” Rance said. “I don’t think I’ve ever kicked a volleyball in a match.”

The moment was so awe-inspiring that the Pioneer student section sitting behind the Lady Panther end of the floor flipped over a desk at which they were hosting a mock “ESPN” show. When the desk flipped over, it made a loud thud, and there was a brief delay while a large popcorn spill was swept aside.

“It’s great when it works, but we try not to teach that,” a laughing Pioneer coach Rod Nies said. “I know Daryl (Yeoman), our one assistant, goes ballistic because that’s really just lazy volleyball. But hey, it’s full body. If we can get a point out of it, which we did … then I’m good with that. I’m just glad Daryl wasn’t here to see it.”

Rance was asked if kicking a volleyball is “lazy,” as Nies termed it.

“Yeah, he’s right,” Rance said, unable to control her laughter. “He’s 100 percent right.”

Rance and Attinger are two of seven seniors along with Brooklyn Borges, Adeline Cripe, Blair Grigsby, Mackenzie Rogers and Emma Sells.

“I’m having a lot of fun, especially for my senior year,” Rance said. “It’s fun. I’ve been playing with them since second or third grade, so it’s like playing with my best friends.”

Pioneer is seeking its fifth consecutive undefeated conference record. They have since won their 34th consecutive conference match at Culver on Tuesday. They are also seeking their first sectional title since the 2020 team won the Class 1A state title..

“Yes, we would like to win, but it’s more about playing for each other than anything else,” Rance said. “What’s the point in winning if you’re not even happy about it?”

Pioneer has eight losses this season, but all eight came in best-of-three matches at Saturday tournaments. They are 7-0 in best-of-five matches.

“You don’t really want to lose, but it’s not necessarily losing as much as the learning about how you do well in those situations, and how you need to do better going forth in those situations,” Rance said.

Pioneer def. Knox, 25-13, 25-18, 25-18


Blair Grigsby – 7 kills, 6 assists, 8 digs; Brooklyn Borges – 9 kills, 5 digs; Keirsten Nies – 6 kills, 3 aces, 15 assists, 7 digs; Kylie Attinger – 7 kills, 1 dig; Elizabeth Rance – 3 kills, 1 ace, 11 digs, 1 block; Mackenzie Rogers – 6 kills, 5 aces, 11 assists, 11 digs, 1 block; Adeline Cripe – 3 aces, 1 assist, 11 digs; Lois Layer – 1 ace, 2 digs; Emma Sells – 1 assist, 3 digs; Ava Beasy – 1 dig

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