RHS volleyball beats Valley in 4
Harris’ dig, Hughes’ kill, Rogers’ tip help Lady Zs improve to 6-2 in TRC
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
AKRON –- Momentum was worth only so much in Game 3 of the volleyball match between Rochester and Tippecanoe Valley Tuesday.
Rochester led 4-0. Valley came back to lead 13-10. Rochester led 17-14. Valley came back to lead 24-22 and had two set points.
What followed might well have been the defining points in RHS’ 22-25, 25-17, 27-25, 25-23 win.
RHS improved to 10-7 overall and 6-2 in Three Rivers Conference play. Valley dropped to 12-12, 5-3.
Kaitlin Rogers had 24 kills, and Hannah Houston had 10 kills and eight blocks for the Lady Zs. Chloe Harris had four aces, 17 digs and 13 serves received. Dalanie Chipps had 17 digs and 20 serves received. Kylie Houston had 12 digs. Emma Howdeshell had 15 serves received. Molly Conley had 13 digs and 50 assists.
RHS played without the injured Lexy Thomas and Carlee Blackburn, but Alexa Kouskousakis (5 kills, 7 serves received) and Kenzie Bradley (5 kills, 1 ace, 9 digs, 4 serves received) filled in.
Delaney Wagoner led Valley with 11 kills. Ashley Butler had two aces. Mallory Durkes had three blocks, and Bree Sheetz, Wagoner and Hayley Backus had two blocks each.
Brayden Baney had 18 digs, and Sheetz had 15. Hannah Engstrand had 27 assists.
Down 24-22 in Game 3, Hannah Houston had a kill, and Harris had an ace to tie the game at 24. Valley called timeout.
Durkes missed a kill try into the net to give RHS a set point. But Sheetz responded with a stuff block to make it 25-25.
That put Engstrand behind the service line for Valley. After a rally, Sheetz took a set and attempted a roll shot towards the middle of the floor.
Somehow, the right-handed Harris dove and kept the ball alive with her left hand. The dig turned into a set as Emily Hughes then attacked on two and got the kill, splitting the middle of the Valley defense.
“I just know that we were working in that game,” Hughes said. “We didn’t want to go into five sets, so we had to do whatever it takes in that game to avoid going into five. Whatever was put up, I saw an opening on the court, so I had to go for it.”
On the next point, Baney passed Houston’s serve to Engstrand, who was tight to the net and bumped it over on two. Chipps and Harris almost collided, but they got the ball to Conley, who set up Kaitlin Rogers. With two blockers set up to stop Rogers, she pushed a deft tip over the net and into a vacant spot in the front left of the Valley defense.
“We had trouble defending their off-speed ball, their tip,” Valley coach Doug West said. “And they knew that, and they went for that quite a bit. That was a frustration we had.”
Game 4 was tied at 4, 7, 9, 10, 11, 14, 15, 16 and 17.
The point at 17-17 was a marathon. Engstrand had an almost impossible dig mid-point, but RHS’ Hannah Houston put it away off the block. A Harris service winner and a Valley lift made it 20-17.
Two straight Delaney Wagoner kills got Valley back within 21-20. A Rogers roll shot was answered with another Wagoner kill.
A Rogers tip and a Kenzie Bradley kill gave RHS match point at 24-21.
West called timeout, and a Sheetz kill and an Engstrand kill on one made it 24-23 before a Rogers kill finished the match.
“I just think in both of the last two games were just super hard fought,” West said. “It was back and forth – one point here, one point there. They had strong attacking at the net. It was a point or two difference, and that makes the difference in the match.”
With the win, RHS can do no worse than a tie for second place in the TRC. If they beat Whitko in South Whitley on Thursday, they will have second place all to themselves. Northfield has already clinched the TRC.
“This was huge for us,” Hughes said. “We’ve been working for it all week, and then we’re going for second in the TRC rather than third, so we were all excited to get it.”
Engstrand was honored for setting Valley’s career assists record in a prematch ceremony. Engstrand already held the single-match and single-season assist records.
ROCHESTER DEF. TIPPECANOE VALLEY, 22-25, 25-17, 27-25, 25-23
Kenzie Bradley - 5 kills, 1 ace, 1 block, 9 digs, 4 serves received; Emily Hughes - 8 kills, 7 digs; Kylie Houston - 1 kill, 2 aces, 12 digs, 9 serves received; Kaitlin Rogers - 24 kills, 2 aces, 1 block, 5 digs, 1 serve received; Molly Conley - 1 kill, 1 block, 13 digs, 50 assists, 1 serve received; Alexa Kouskousakis - 5 kills, 3 blocks, 1 dig, 7 serves received; Hannah Houston - 10 kills, 8 blocks, 5 digs, 2 serves received; Chloe Harris - 4 aces, 17 digs, 1 assist, 13 serves received; Dalanie Chipps - 17 digs, 20 serves received; Emma Howdeshell - 7 digs, 15 serves received
Bree Sheetz - 7 kills, 1 ace, 2 blocks, 15 digs; Makenzie Costello - 1 kill, 3 digs; Mallory Durkes - 3 kills, 3 blocks, 6 digs; Delaney Wagoner - 11 kills, 2 blocks, 10 digs; Hayley Backus - 9 kills, 2 blocks, 1 dig; Brayden Baney - 1 ace, 18 digs; Karli Hogue - 1 ace; Ashley Butler - 2 aces, 10 digs; Abby Koch - 3 digs; Hannah Engstrand - 10 digs, 27 assists