By Jan Schultz
The Imperial Republican
With the SPVA conference volleyball tournament looming in the near future, Chase County’s performance this week is important.
Right now, the Lady Longhorns are sitting third in the point standings among the six SPVA schools. If that doesn’t change, Chase County will be playing in the tournament’s first round next Thursday, Oct. 15, in Maxwell.
The top two seeded schools get a first round bye, and won’t play until the second day of the tournament Saturday, Oct. 17.
Schuller said their performance this week is vital in how the seeding pans out for SPVA.
All three teams on their schedule this week—St. Pat’s, Southwest and Perkins County—are able to be beaten, she said.
The Lady Longhorns have beaten Southwest once already at the Lexington tournament, but lost to Perkins County last week in a triangular.
Tuesday night this week was the first time they were to meet up with 10-3 St. Pat’s, the likely top seed in the SPVA tournament.
The SPVA bracket is expected to be out early next week.
Tonight (Thursday), the Lady Longhorns will be in Grant for freshman, JV and varsity matches with Perkins County. Matches start at 5:30 p.m. with the freshmen, followed by JV and varsity, all in the high school gym.
Perkins County held a 12-5 record early this week, while Chase County sits at 11-10 after splitting wins at two triangulars last week.
Chase County defeated Gothenburg but lost to Perkins County at a Sept. 29 triangular in Grant.
Fans saw a little different lineup when Chase County took to the floor against Gothenburg. Chantal Heathers, who has been at the libero position, was moved to setter, while Paula Leibbrandt, who had been the setter, went to the opposite hitter spot.
Coach Jodie Schuller said her team started a little slow in the first game, but pulled out a 25-23 win. Chase County held onto the momentum and won the second game, 25-19.
Chase County’s .155 hitting efficiency was a marked improvement, Schuller said, but it still needs to be up around the .200 mark, she said.
Shannon Liewer had eight kills of the team’s 19, while Shayla Dinnel was credited with five.
Serving also was better for Chase County, with just three missed serves for a 93% effort (46 of 49). Heathers was leading scorer with 14 points.
Defensively, Karlee Kunnemann led the team with 21 digs.
The Lady Longhorns lost in two to Perkins County, 14-25 and 14-25.
Coach Schuller said her team faced some good jump servers in the match, and Chase County didn’t hit as well in this outing.
The Lady Longhorns had 17 kills, with 14 errors, for an .045 hitting percentage. Perkins County had 21 kills and eight errors for a .200 hitting efficiency.
Shayla Dinnel led the hitters for Chase County with six kills. On defense, Heathers, who was moved back to the libero position in the second game against Perkins County, led the team with 12 digs.
Chase County was 32 of 34 on serves for 94%. Reichert and Liewer each had eight points from the service line.
Coach Schuller said her team appeared a little “out of sync” against Perkins County, and looks forward to another match against them tonight (Thursday).
“We are improving, and we need to keep doing that,” she said.
“The players are seeing what they need to get better at,” she added.
Back on the home court last Thursday, the Lady Longhorns beat Sutherland and lost to Maxwell.
Against Maxwell, they lost in two, 21-25 and 25-27.
Neither team hit well, each with 19 kills, but Chase County’s hitting efficiency was in the minus category (-.077), while Maxwell hit at zero.
Schuller said her team started the match out “flat,” and didn’t’ seem to pull out of it.
Reichert led the hitters with nine kills, and Kunnemann topped the scorers with 13 points.
Teamwise, Chase County was 38 of 41 on serves for 92%.
In the last match of the night, the Lady Longhorns lost their first game to Sutherland, 16-25, but came back to win the next two and the match, 25-16 and 25-17.
Chase County never led in the first game, but then took strong leads in the second and third games, never letting the Lady Sailors close enough to even tie.
Schuller said Kunnemann stepped up in the second game to take a leadership role, and that made a big difference.
“That got the team going,” she noted.
Heathers was used again as setter in the first game, then was switched back to libero for the second and third games.
Chase County did a better job at the net with a .147 hitting efficiency, led by Liewer with 10 kills. Sutherland was in the minus category for hitting efficiency.
On services, Chase County was 59 of 62 for 95%, led by Kunnemann with 13 points, Liewer with 12 and Katie Engbrecht, 10 points.