Aquinas volleyball struggles in conference tournament
David City Aquinas volleyball completed a tough week of play in the Centennial Conference Tournament held Oct. 4 and Oct. 6.
The Monarchs had won three straight the weekend before, taking the team title at the Clarkson/Leigh Tournament topping the Class C-2 No. 7 ranked hosts in three sets before opening the Centennial Conference with a three-set loss at Kearney Catholic on Oct. 4 followed by losses in Lincoln two days later to Lincoln Christian and No. 9 Omaha Concordia.
“We knew every match would be a battle, but it was very disappointing to not have won at least one of them,” said Aquinas head coach Jody Pelan in comments sent to The Banner-Press. “We did not play well against Kearney Catholic on Thursday at all. It was one of those rare nights when nobody was on, for some reason…and yet we were still in the match until the end.
“The bright spot for us is that we’ve only been swept by Neumann so far. Each of our other losses has been in three sets, so we know we are being competitive. We need to have the confidence to finish.”
Kearney Catholic took the win 25-15, 24-26, 25-22, Aquinas won the opening set over Lincoln Christian 25-22 then dropped the next two 25-21, 25-19 and Concordia opened with a dominant 25-13 first set, lost the second 25-22 but won the match with a 25-20 third-set win.
Pelan said that inconsistency has haunted the Monarchs.
“It seems like at some point over the last week, every part of our game has been compromised a bit,” she said. “One night we might not serve receive well, the next time we might not terminate like we need to, the next time we might not cover well defensively. So we need to continue to work on all aspects of the game.
“We’re going to have breakdowns at times, but we need to learn to rise above those quicker than we have been. Larissa Sellers and Breanna Stouffer have been our most consistent floor leaders, but we need everyone to step up their communication. That’s what we’ve been focusing on lately.”
Pelan said Aquinas knew this portion of the season was going to be the toughest part of their schedule.
“We knew going in to this season that the most challenging matches would happen at this point,” she said. “I think for any team it’s easy to get a little complacent when things are going well, and as much as we’ve discussed the importance of not letting that happen, I think we have.
“When you play teams in our conference, especially those in the upper half, you really have to focus on executing and being in the correct positions defensively, or it can be brutal. The girls know that they have to keep working hard and embrace their roles if we want to be competitive through the rest of the season.”
Shelby-Rising City went 1-3 this past week in volleyball action.
Shelby-Rising City volleyball lost both games in a triangular with Clarkson-Leigh and Lutheran High on Oct. 2, dropping the season record to 10-9.
The Huskies played Clarkson-Leigh first losing 25-13 and 25-12.
Kamryn Pokorney led the team in kills and blocks with 13 and two respectively, Reece Ingalls had an ace, Jenna Nekl posted a team-high 14 assist and Jamie Hopwood tallied 13 digs.
S-RC then lost to Lutheran High in two sets 25-15 and 25-20.
Nekl had nine kills and 11 assists to lead her team while Hopwood had an ace and a team-high 16 digs.
On Oct. 4, SR-C played in a triangular with McCool Junction and Giltner.
The Huskies won the first game against McCool Junction in two sets 25-13 and 25-10 but then lost to Giltner 25-17 and 25-17.
Ingalls led the Huskies in kills against McCool Junction with 10.
In 14 serves, Hopwood had a perfect serve percentage and tallied a team-high 19 digs
Nekl recorded 20 assists to lead SRC.
The next game for SRC is Saturday at the CRC tournament.
David City completed a 1-2 week Oct. 1 through Oct. 7 with a loss to once ranked Twin River 25-22, 25-12, 25-22 on Oct. 2 then a split of matches on Oct. 4 including a win over Sutton 27-25 and 25-18 then a 25-10, 25-20 loss to Fairbury
Team leaders during the trio of matches included Macy Svoboda with 13 total kills, Morgan Eickmeier digging up a combined 31 shots and Payton Andel compiling 41 assists.
“By the end of the night we kind of started feeling our gel and our mesh together again, so that was great to see. We were on a downward slope, but we’re now back up,” said head coach Emily Maresh after the triangular on Oct. 4.
Maresh said that her team has to communicate in order to have success in the later part of the season.
“The biggest thing is gelling together,” she said. “When we aren’t gelling together, we don’t move together on the court, and serve receive has to be spot on so we can have options in the front row,” she said.
“Our team goals are just making sure we are communicating well on the court, as well as being smart with what ball we have, and always bettering the ball when we get it.”
Thursday, the Scouts head to Aquinas for a triangular, against Aquinas and Centennial.
East Butler’s week started out on a rough stretch, but the Tigers recovered for a win in the final match on the schedule.
“We were hoping for a couple of wins, but we’re glad to get the one,” coach Karmen Widick said in comments sent to the Banner-Press. “Hopefully the win will be a springboard for us as we head into the matches this week.
“If we clean up the serve receive errors, but more importantly, the hitting errors, we will be in a better position to be successful.”
The Tigers lost their first three games of the week after being swept in a triangular with Osceola and Bruning-Davenport/Shickley on Oct. 2.
Bruning-Davenport/Shickley swept East Butler 25-14 and 25-13. It took Osceola three sets 25-23, 22-25 and 25-19.
On Oct. 4, the Tigers hosted another triangular this time against Brownell Talbot and Parkview Christian.
East Butler’s losing streak continued against Brownell Talbot in two sets 25-19 and 25-23.
The Tigers then turned things around against the Patriots of Parkview Christian, sweeping the contest 25-10 and 25-18.
During the Parkview Christian match, Madison Helman led the team in kills and serve receptions with six in each category.
Jadyn Robley and Addie Sullivan each tallied a team-high six digs. Robley also served six aces and had 10 assists to lead the Tigers.
Thursday, East Butler travels to Exeter-Milligan.
“We have to be able to keep the ball in play and let the opponent have the opportunity to make an error,” Widick said. “We head into the Crossroads Conference tourney on Saturday after three matches this week then we are off until sub-districts. That is a lot of time to work on our weaknesses.”
Peter Huguenin is a sports reporter for The Banner-Press. Reach him via email at DVDsports@lee.net