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  • Val T.

Rochester ‘relentless,’ but Lady Zs drop TRC opener to Lewis Cass in 3

BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS

Sports Editor, RTC

WALTON — The Rochester volleyball team might be feeling some growing pains.

They also might be feeling some real pain.

The Lady Zs lost to host Lewis Cass 25-20, 25-19, 25-19 in their Three Rivers Conference opener Tuesday and might have lost junior middle hitter Audrey Bolinger to an ankle injury after she landed on a teammate’s foot on match point.

Rochester fell to 1-8 overall. Lewis Cass is 5-5 overall and 1-0 in the TRC.

Rochester first-year coach Laneia Strasser did not fault her team’s effort and cited several improvements from a three-set home loss to Culver Academy Thursday.

“We were relentless,” Strasser said. “We went after every ball. We were aggressive. We were swinging. We were being quick. We were communicating better.”

Already up a set, Lewis Cass went on a 13-1 run in the second set to take an 18-6 lead before Rochester would cut into the lead thanks to an Aubrey Wilson service winner; a Mia Howdeshell kill; a seven-point run that included a Lewis Cass service error; a Lewis Cass double hit; three straight Darah Strasser aces, two of which clipped the net before falling over and hitting the floor; a Bolinger stuff block; and a Bolinger tip.

But Lewis Cass recovered and closed the set out on two kills from middle hitter Abbey Hileman.

The third set was a rollercoaster. It started with six straight Lewis Cass points, which led to a Rochester timeout. Then came eight straight Rochester points. Then came four straight Lewis Cass points. Rochester would tie it at 10-all on kill errors from Maci Garland and Ava Hubner.

Then came five straight Lewis Cass points. Then Rochester went on a 5-1 run with help from a Bolinger back row kill, a Howdeshell dump and a Wilson service winner.

But Lewis Cass had the last run, a 7-1 spurt that put them ahead 23-16. A Rylee Clevenger ace and an Ella Hake stuff block only delayed the tough outcome.

“I’ve been saying to the girls we’ve got to learn to get the lead and keep the lead,” Strasser said. “We’re always playing from behind. We’re always playing from five points behind. Then it’s 10 points behind. To actually play out ahead would be beneficial. So that’s the most disappointing, that they don’t understand and can’t figure out how to get those first five points and then the next five points. … To me, that’s disappointing.”

Freshmen continue to populate the lineup, including Wilson at setter, Logyn Honkomp at libero and outside hitter Brailyn Hunter.

Another first-time varsity player is 6-0 sophomore Avarie Montel.

“She did great for her first game,” coach Strasser said. “I was pleased.”

Coach Strasser gave her serve-receive a “7” on a scale in which she said a “10” would be “perfect.”

“We were in system more than we were out of system tonight, so that was a good improvement too,” Strasser said.

Rochester was already playing without junior outside hitter Lillee Lett, out due to illness.



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