By Lenny Sementi
Tuscola’s volleyball team not only opened league play this past Saturday in style, the ladies in black and gold got back on the right track after dropping a pair of non-conference matches earlier in the week. Coach Lydia Miller’s group got off on the right foot in their Central Illinois Conference opener, capturing not only a win but a road win in front of a hostile crowd at Clinton sweeping the Maroons in straight sets 25-16, 27-25.
Tuscola utilized a five-point run early in game one at Clinton and then ran away from the host Maroons behind strong play at the net. Setter Kerri Pierce found both Kate Dean and Amelia Bosch for kills during the run en-route to a team-high seven assists. Pierce added to her stat sheet with five service points in the match, including a big ace in game two.
Dean and Bosch both posted blocks in the overtime second set and match victory and punctuated the win with kills late. The two big hitters each swung their way to seven kills in the contest while combining for three blocks, eight saves and two aces.
Junior Anna Rauguth dove her way to a match-high 12 digs and also fed the front row to the tune of four assists. Zoey Thomason and Addisyn Pettry were next up in the saves column with 11 each while Mia Hausmann found her way to six. Maddie Stahler chipped in as well, adding two kills and three digs to the cause.
“We did a much better job on defense against Clinton than we did the previous two games during the week,” stated coach Miller. “We had a ton of digs and more touch blocks than any other match this year. We also worked together and had a more positive mindset on the court and it showed.”
handed Tuscola its first loss of the week on Monday, September 13, taking the first two sets 24-26 and 21-25 to secure the match win thanks to late surges. Dean pounded home a match-high ten kills, donated eight digs and two aces. Bosch was next in the kill column with six while Stahler added three. Pierce led all with 19 assists to her credit. Thomason took her part in six saves and two kills. Overall the Warriors were strong at the net but struggled in key moments in the back row.
One night later the defensive issues continued at times as a very good Paxton Buckley Loda tear ran away with a two-set sweep running out to a 12-point win in game one 13-25 before closing the door on the match victory with an 18-25 win in game two.
Kills were few and far between with Dean adding three to her season stat sheet and Bosch six to hers. The duo combined to block three balls at the net and found a way to three balls in the back row. Thomason was tops in the dig department with five while Rauguth led the way in assists notching five as well.