‘We did not miss a ball:’ Late 6-point rally helps Lady Zs stun Maconaquah
Updated: Sep 25
RHS beats defending conference champs in 5, improves to 3-2 in TRC
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
BUNKER HILL –- Rochester volleyball coach Erin Leap called timeout with her team trailing Maconaquah 13-9 in Game 5 of their match Tuesday, and she was frustrated with her team.
Leap said she wasn’t positive like she usually is. But it might have led to perhaps their most impressive display of mental toughness of the season.
RHS went on to score the last six points of the match and beat the defending Three Rivers Conference champions on their home floor 20-25, 25-17, 25-20, 24-26, 15-13.
Kaitlin Rogers led RHS with 27 kills, and Hannah Houston had 19 putaways, including two in the match-ending 6-0 run. Emily Hughes had 11 kills.
Rogers had three aces.
Dalanie Chipps led the defense with 34 digs. Molly Conley had 20 digs to go with her 53 assists.
But it might have been RHS’ ability to control Maconaquah’s service game that decided it. Chipps had 29 serves received, Emma Howdeshell had 20 digs, and Kylie Houston had 14 serves received to go with 18 digs.
Chloe Harris contributed 19 digs and nine serves received.
“Our passes improved a lot, and we really just got together, and we played really well together, and we did not miss a ball,” Conley said afterwards.
In Game 5, Rogers and Lexy Thomas had kills, and Rogers had a stuff block to help RHS take a 5-2 lead. Maconaquah scored the next four points to go up 6-5. Capped by a Rogers ace, RHS then scored the next three points to take an 8-6 lead.
But then the Lady Braves responded with a 7-1 run to take a 13-9 lead.
“I was angry,” RHS coach Erin Leap said. “I usually don’t yell at the girls. Like, I’m usually super positive about everything, and I kind of went off there and said we have to not have any more ding-dong moves, that we needed to find a way, and find the hole and find the court. Because we were just hitting stuff out of bounds. We just weren’t doing a good job of being smart. And so, I’m not taking credit for it. They did all the work. I don’t know. Things just kind of turned and went our way.”
The first point came when Lilly Maple put a kill try in the net. Then Maconaquah’s Holly Warnock missed on a kill try. Then came a Hannah Houston kill.
Maconaquah coach Jessica Metcalf called timeout. Then Conley and Hannah Houston combined on a stuff block. That tied the game 13-13.
“I just went up there and decided we were going to win this game,” a giddy Conley later said.
A Hughes kill that skittered off the Maconaquah block and out of bounds gave RHS a 14-13 lead.
Metcalf called Maconaquah’s last timeout. But after a rally, another Hannah Houston attack from the middle ended the match.
“I think we’re mentally tough,” Leap said. “I feel like we’ve always been a come-from-behind team. So to be totally honest, there are days that if we get up four or five points, it makes me nervous… because we get complacent”
Rogers produced her 27 kills with a velvet hand, often finding open spots on Maconaquah’s side of the net with precise tips.
“It was strategic,” Leap said of RHS’ copious tipping. “Kaitlin was really seeing that hole. There were sets that I thought she was going to pound. And she would come up with a tip because she would see that hole. So I told her just to be smart. If she sees it, go for it. And if she can swing, swing. That was really all her tonight. It was just her seeing the court.”
RHS improved to 5-5 overall and 3-2 in the TRC. They were coming off a three-game sweep of Peru Monday.
Conley said beating Maconaquah “means everything to me.” Maconaquah beat RHS in five games in both 2016 and 2019 en route to TRC titles both years. RHS went on to win sectional titles in both 2016 and 2019.
“We’re all getting used to playing together,” Conley said. “We’ve been playing together for awhile. We had a couple weeks off, so we’re all really getting used to playing with each other. We know who’s getting what.”
The teams split the first two games before RHS took a 20-9 lead in Game 3 and held on.
Maconaquah led 21-17 in game 4 before a 5-0 RHS run capped off by a Harreis ace and a Hughes kill gave RHS a 22-21 lead.
RHS led 23-22 on another Hughes kill off the block before Maconaquah scored four of the next five points to close the game out.
The Lady Zs will seek to continue their dominance of Miami County when they host North Miami at 6 p.m. Thursday.
ROCHESTER DEF. MACONAQUAH, 20-25, 25-17, 25-20, 24-26, 15-13
Lexy Thomas - 3 kills, 1 block, 4 digs, 1 serve received; Emily Hughes - 11 kills, 7 digs; Kaitlin Rogers - 27 kills, 3 aces, 3 blocks, 6 digs, 1 serve received; Molly Conley - 2 kills, 3 blocks, 20 digs, 53 assists; Carlee Blackburn - 2 kills, 1 block, 4 digs, 1 assist, 3 serves received; Hannah Houston - 19 kills, 3 blocks, 4 digs, 1 assist, 4 serves received; Chloe Harris - 1 ace, 19 digs, 9 serves received; Kylie Houston - 1 ace, 18 digs, 14 serves received; Dalanie Chipps - 34 digs, 2 assists, 29 serves received; Emma Howdeshell - 6 digs, 20 serves received