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  • Val T.

Valley gets cross, rallies to beat Rochester in 4 behind Costello, Wagoner

Leap leads Lady Zs with 14 kills, Lett has 23 digs


Sports Editor, RTC

AKRON — Mackaylie Costello put down 16 kills and added five blocks, 18 digs and 24 serves received, and Ava Smith added 12 kills, and the Tippecanoe Valley volleyball

Mackaylie Costello

team put away visiting Rochester 12-25, 25-20, 27-25, 25-23 at Rita Price Simpson Court on Oct. 4.

Sophomore setter Avery Wagoner also shone, dishing out 47 assists and adding 30 digs and six aces. Colette Blackburn also had 10 kills and the match-ending ace. Karli Hogue had 13 digs and 11 serves received, and Erika Henderson had 11 digs and nine serves received.

Valley improved to 13-12 overall and 3-5 in the Three Rivers Conference.

Alexa Kouskousakis had 11 kills, three blocks, 17 assists and 19 digs for Rochester, who dropped to 11-15, 4-4. Rily Holloway had 20 digs and 19 serves received.. Kennedy Leap had a team-high 14 kills.

Lillee Lett had six kills, 23 digs and 14 assists, and Mia Howdeshell had 11 digs and nine serves received.

Valley made an adjustment to Rochester’s defense, according to coach Ashley Derf.

“So our original plan was to go line based off what we had seen in some of their games prior, but they’re scrappy, and they were digging, so we said let’s go cross, and it worked,” Valley coach Ashley Derf said.

The key sequences might have occurred at the ends of the third and fourth sets.

Rochester trailed 24-21 in the third set but warded off all three Valley set points on a Kouskousakis deep tip, a double-hit called on Wagoner and a Leap kill.

A Smith kill gave Valley another set point, but Leap answered with another kill.

Another Smith kill to the back corner made it 26-25, and a Blackburn tip on set point No. 5 gave Valley a 2-1 lead.

Derf said she could tell in prematch warmups that Smith was going to have a good night. Smith said the key to her hitting is getting her timing down.

“We weren't really, like, communicating,” Smith said of how they were able to turn it around. “I think we were nervous because it’s Rochester. It’s our biggest rival. So we start out good, and it just goes back and forth. We need to work on it. … We get in our heads a lot.”

Rochester then jumped out to a 13-5 lead in Game 4. Valley worked it back even at 18-all on a Erika Henderson ace, but a Kylie Coleman tip, an Audrey Bolinger tip and a Kouskousakis dump to the middle put Rochester back up 21-18.

But Emily McGriff and Blackburn had kills, and a Costello attack led to a Rochester ding-dong play and gave Valley a 23-22 lead.

A Leap kill got it back to 23-all, but a Costello kill and a Blackburn ace ended the match.

Even with performances like Smith’s Costello’s and Blackburn’s, one might argue that the engine of the team is Wagoner.

“She’s young, and she’s very hard on herself,” Derf said. “And so she probably holds herself to the highest standard of anybody … including me. That is a good thing, but it’s a bad thing sometimes. So she’s just helping herself, and she’s young, and she did awesome, and you guys are going to see great things out of her. You know you will.”

Valley had 20 aces as compared to Rochester’s six.

“They started hitting more crosscourt,” Rochester coach Erin Leap said. “We were digging their lines, so they were hitting more crosscourt, and our blockers had trouble lining up so that our defense would know where to go. They kept pulling farther and farther, and they just kept hitting shorter and shorter.”

Rochester closed Game 1 on a 10-1 run to win 25-12. Kouskousakis had two kills, and Bolinger had a tip during that run. Valley led 21-19 in Game 2 before closing it out on a Smith tip, a Costello clean ace, a Smith kill and a lift called on Bolinger.

Tippecanoe Valley def. Rochester, 12-25, 25-20, 27-25, 25-23

Rochester stats

Kylie Coleman – 6 kills, 1 ace, 1 block, 6 digs, 1 assist, 6 serves received; Kennedy Leap – 14 kills, 2 aces, 2 digs, 1 assist; Darah Strasser – 2 kills, 1 ace, 7 digs, 9 serves received; Kylee Freant – 1 kill, 1 ace, 3 digs, 2 serves received; Alexa Kouskousakis – 11 kills, 1 ace, 3 blocks, 19 digs, 17 assists; Mia Howdeshell – 1 kill, 11 digs, 1 assist, 9 serves received; Lillee Lett – 6 kills, 23 digs, 14 assists, 8 serves received; Audrey Bolinger – 5 kills, 2 blocks, 3 digs, 1 assist; Rily Holloway – 20 digs, 19 serves received

Valley stats

Erika Henderson – 1 kill, 3 aces, 11 digs, 9 serves received; Avery Wagoner – 3 kills, 6 aces, 1 block, 30 digs, 47 assists; Dalynne Bussard – 2 kills, 1 block, 3 serves received; Colette Blackburn – 10 kills, 2 aces, 7 digs, 7 serves received; Mackaylie Costello – 16 kills, 4 aces, 5 blocks, 18 digs, 24 serves received; Sidney Nelson – 4 kills, 2 aces, 7 digs, 13 serves received; Emily McGriff – 2 kills, 2 blocks; Emma Patrick – 1 kill, 2 digs, 5 serves received; Ava Smith – 12 kills, 2 digs, 5 serves received; Karli Hogue – 3 aces, 13 digs, 11 serves received; Gaby Gonzalez – 5 digs, 6 serves received

JV: Rochester def. Valley, 13-25, 25-20, 15-13

Rochester JV stats

Haley Durkes – 3 kills, 16 digs, 4 assists; Keyton Doran – 3 kills; Ella Hake – 3 aces; Rylee Clevenger – 10 digs; Abbigayle Darling – 8 serves received; Darah Strasser – 7 serves received

NOTE: No Valley JV stats were made available to RTC.

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