VOLLEYBALL: Pereda twins propel Kays over Rich East

September 20, 2018

KANKAKEE — Two is better than one, and the Kankakee volleyball team saw living proof of that Tuesday night.

After a pair of Adilene Pereda blocks helped the Kays wrap up their first set against Rich East, it was twin sister Ashley Pereda who had consecutive kills in the second set to give the Kays a home conference victory against Rich East 2-0 (25-20, 27-25).

“Twin power,” Ashley said of the twin magic that was on hand in Kankakee on Tuesday.

The Kays improved to 9-11 on the season, and after a 3-1 performance at the Hillcrest Autumn Invite last weekend, Adilene Pereda said the team is starting to find its stride.

“I know we’re capable of it, so it makes me proud to see my team can live up to what they have the potential to do,” Adilene Pereda said.

After the two squads were back and forth for the first half of the first set, the Kays climbed out to a 23-15 lead, thanks to a big block from Adilene Pereda.

The Rockets rallied late to cut the deficit to 23-20, when Adilene Pereda came up with her second block of the night to give the Kays a 24-20 lead, with the Kays picking up a quick 25th point to take the first set.

Listed at 5-foot-9 on the roster, Adilene Pereda usually finds herself as one of the shorter players on either side of the net on the front line and was again against the Rockets’ lengthy hitters Tuesday. But that didn’t stop the Kays’ senior leader from stepping up.

“I’m usually not the best blocker,” Adilene Pereda said. “But it just felt really good to help my team out.”

The second set saw the teams trade narrow leads, including swapping a pair of points to tie things at 25. But with the match on the line, Ashley Pereda picked up two kills in a row, her only two of the night, to seal the two-set victory for the Kays.

Ashley Pereda said she didn’t expect the ball to come her way either time, but she took advantage of the opportunity when it was presented to her.

“I felt like I made a difference on the team and pushed us,” Ashley said. “I wasn’t expecting it; it just got set up to me, and I had to terminate it.”

Kankakee coach Dennis Pommier was ecstatic to see the Kays close out not one tight set on Tuesday but two. He said finishing sets off has been a common problem this season but wasn’t Tuesday.

“That’s been our nemesis so far. We get to 20, and then we can’t finish,” Pommier said. “It was good to see that happen in both sets.”

And there was more than the Pereda twins to the Kays’ victory. Aariasha Dabney had a team-high six kills, and middle hitter Jessica Gathing had a crucial block and kill in the second set.

“Aariasha is going to get her swings. We kept going on the line because they were giving it to us. She had six kills, and four or five of those were down the line,” Pommier said. “Jessica, she’s spotting some time in the middle and took advantage of it tonight, getting her hand on a block. She had some swings when we needed them that put them off balance.”

Aside from her two blocks, Adilene Pereda had a team-high 14 assists. Ashley Pereda added six digs, which tied for the Kays’ lead with Sierra Anderson.

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The Kays look to continue building momentum when they travel to Rich Central on Thursday.

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