VOLLEYBALL: Boyce’s 12 kills help Cissna Park down Milford
CISSNA PARK — It’s nearly impossible to outscrap Cissna Park, but Milford gave it all it had.
In the end, that scrappiness, along with hitting errors and miscommunication from the Bearcats down the stretch, earned the Timberwolves a three-set victory Monday 23-25, 25-15 and 25-19.
“Traditionally, both teams have always been scrappy, and they leave everything on the floor,” Cissna Park coach Josh Landon said. “It’s always a battle no matter what. [Milford] had their moments where they ran out a number of points, but we answered back and played Cissna Park volleyball.”
Milford started hot like a blowtorch led by three kills from Jakki Mowery, later followed by a kill and ace from Brooke Sobkoviak for an 11-4 lead.
Flanked by Sloan Boyce at the serving line and Erica Walder at the net, Cissna Park fired back on an 8-0 run to claim the lead 12-11.
Madness in the form of ties (10) and lead changes (six) ensued before an ace from Sam Conley and a kill by Caley Mowery gave the Bearcats the opening 25-23 victory.
“Credit to Milford, they came out and kind of punched us in the mouth,” Landon said. “It definitely served as a wake up call. We didn’t match their energy early.”
Down 1-0, Cissna Park went to it’s bread-and-butter play to start the second set: set up Boyce.
Naturally, it worked like a charm, as the Timberwolves continued to feed her and she kept putting balls away.
She opened the set with four kills as they led 11-6 and continued that momentum, as she registered two more kills down the stretch to help the Timberwolves win 25-15 and send the game into a third and final set.
“As a senior captain, it’s one of my duties to come out with my best every night,” Boyce said. “Losing as many seniors as we did, including a great player like Gabby Wessels, it’s forced us all to step up. Making the switch from middle hitter to outside was difficult; I’ve been a middle since fifth grade. I’d always been taught to be quick to the ball, and now it’s wait and then explode.”
Making that move has worked well for both parties. Cissna Park is 15-4-2, and Boyce is third in the area now with 167 kills after adding 12 more to that total.
“I actually love playing the outside now; it’s so fun,” Boyce continued with a giant smile. “I get one kill, and it just makes me want more.”
Stay the course
Tied at 10 in the third set after a kill from Kristen Walder, Boyce served an ace before Lexy Puetz countered back with a kill to knot the game at 11.
An Erica Walder kill and two kills from Audrey Kaeb put Cissna Park ahead 14-11, and that was all it needed as Milford’s hitting errors reared their ugly heads at the worse moments to secure a Timberwolves win.
“The girls had that little extra determination and refused to lose on their home floor,” Landon said. “Kristen played great and had some solid digs, Erica and Sloan had a number of kills, and Carly [Pence] had some blocks. When you put all of that together, good things start to happen.”
Although her Bearcats were on the losing end of things, Sobkoviak was dynamite.
The senior outside hitter showed her value and effect on the game from the serving line and at the net.
She saved her best play for the final set as she put the team on her back for a small stretch with a kill followed by three aces as part of a 5-0 run.
She finished the night with seven kills and four aces.
“Brooke is a really good player on the outside,” Landon said. “She got her swings and kills. It’s one of those situations where you can’t stop a player completely, but you find ways to maintain them, and she’s that type of player.”
On top of her 12 kills, Boyce added 14 digs and three aces, and Anna Jennings dished out 29 assists and added 11 digs for Cissna Park.
Erica Walder finished with 10 digs and 10 kills, and Kristen Walder added 10 digs.
After Sobkoviak’s numbers for Milford, Kaylee Warren had 23 assists, and Jakki Mowery added 20 digs and five kills.
Cissna Park returns to action Thursday at home against Momence in SVC action, and Milford hits the road today at Chrisman.