By Jan Schultz
The Imperial Republican
It was a fruitful home opener for the Lady Longhorn volleyball team last Thursday.
They picked up both wins in a triangular varsity tourney in the Longhorn gym, defeating two Colorado schools from Haxtun and Wray.
Then on Saturday, the varsity finished 2-1 at the Gordon/Rushville tournament, taking third place in the eight-team event.
That pushed the Lady Longhorn record to 5-3 as it enters a busy week of play this week.
CCS Coach Jodie Schuller said she was happy with last week’s home opener, saying, “The girls were fired up and ready to play.”
They opened with a two-game win over Haxtun, but were forced to go three games to defeat Wray in the nightcap.
Scores in their win over Haxtun were 25-19 and 25-22.
In the opening game, CCS took an early 12-1 lead, but Haxtun pulled within four points of tying it more than once late in the contest, capitalizing on Lady Longhorn mistakes.
Game two with Haxtun proved a bit closer, with the Lady Bulldogs leading early, 3-1. They scored those first three points on Chase County mistakes.
The second game was tied 11 times, including late in the contest at 20, 21 and 22. However, Chase County sealed the win, going up 23-22 on a Haxtun bad pass, then winning it with two straight kills from Shannon Liewer
Schuller was glad to see an improved hitting efficiency of .125 from her team as they amassed 17 kills with just six errors, led by Liewer with 12.
Haxtun managed just one kill in the match, coupled with 21 errors for a hitting efficiency of minus .303.
Schuller was not happy with her team’s serving, as they missed 10 and had just two aces, for a 79 percent mark (38 of 48) at the line.
“That’s an area we need to fix,” she said.
Schuller also wants to see a higher hitting percentage from her team.
Chase County’s win against Wray came in three games, 25-17, 23-25 and 25-18.
Again, Chase County gave up too many points on their own errors, Schuller said, but liked the fact her team came back strong after losing the second game.
And, the team’s serving improved as they were 55 of 59 for 93 percent, and scored six aces.
Chase County had three times as many kills as Wray, 21 to 7, led by three Lady Longhorns, Karlee Kunnemann, Dee Dee Pursley and Lexee Reichert, each with four.
The team’s hitting efficiency improved slightly to .130, while they held their opponents again to a minus .168.
Paula Leibbrandt led the team in points scored from serves in both games, with 17 against Haxtun and 15 versus Wray.
Chase County brought home a third place finish Saturday from the Gordon/Rushville varsity tourney.
The Lady Longhorns opened with a win over Niobrara County, Wyo., lost a close second match to Gordon/Rushville, but came back with a win over Bridgeport for third place.
Chase County beat Niobrara County in two games, but the second game was a squeaker. Scores were 25-10 and 29-27.
Maria Ramos led the hitters with seven kills, while Reichert had five. Coach Schuller said that was good to see.
As a team, the Lady Longhorns had 20 kills offset by 16 errors at the net, for a hitting efficiency of .053.
Niobrara County had a minus .074 at the net.
On serves, Chase County was 47 of 53 for 88 percent.
Liewer and Leibbrandt were leading scorers with 17 and 10 points on serves, respectively.
It was a good match against Gordon/Rushville, although Chase County came out on the short end, 22-25, 26-24 and 23-25.
Coach Schuller said her team did some good things in this match, and both teams were very close on the hitting and serving stats.
But, errors at crucial times by Chase County proved the downfall, she said.
“We aren’t seeing the whole game yet as we should. That showed up a little in some of our defense,” she said.
Liewer led the hitters with 13 kills; Reichert had nine. As a team, they tallied 33 kills, with 17 errors, for a .124 hitting efficiency.
G/R had 42 kills with 27 errors for a .128 hitting efficiency.
On serves, the team was 64 of 69 for 92 percent. Ramos and Liewer led at the line, scoring 16 and 14 points, respectively.
Clay Center won the tournament with a championship match win over Gordon/Rushville.
In the consolation finals, Chase County came up with the win in three, 25-19, 24-26 and 25-17.
Coach Schuller was impressed with how the team came back after the loss in the semi-finals, ready to play.
“We were scrappy and did some good things on defense,” she said, noting the efforts of Chantal Heathers in the libero position.
She especially liked what she saw from the serving line. Chase County missed just one serve in the match, finishing 67 of 68, and had six ace serves.
Leibbrandt and Liewer led from the line with 15 and 13 points, while Alexa Bernhardt and Heathers each scored 12.
Liewer was the offensive leader with 11 kills, while Reichert punched across seven. Chase County collected 29 total kills, with 12 errors, for a .133 hitting efficiency.
That was matched by 37 kills and 24 errors at the net from Bridgeport for .096 hitting efficiency.
As she looked back over the week, Schuller said she was happy with the matches the past week.
“We are improving. Our hitting numbers and side out numbers are both up,” she said.
After the tournament, the varsity record stood at 5-3.
After traveling to Holyoke, Colo., Tuesday, the Lady Longhorns will be back at home tonight (Thursday) when they host Wauneta/Palisade.
The Lady Bronco varsity was 4-2 early this week, after opening the season with a 4-0 record before losing two at Saturday’s Hitchcock County Invitational.
C, JV and varsity matches will be played here Thursday starting at 5 p.m.
On Saturday, the Lady Longhorn varsity will be in McCook for their tournament. Chase County faces Southwest in the opener. See the bracket for more information.