By Jan Schultz
The Imperial Republican
It was a good first week for the Lady Longhorn varsity volleyball team, sporting a 3-1 record after their season opening dual and Saturday tournament.
After an easy win at Haxtun, Colo., last Thursday, the Lady Longhorns finished second at Saturday’s Lexington tournament, losing to a 4-0 Class B Holdrege team in the finals.
Chase County Coach Jodie Schuller said she was very pleased with her team’s first matches of the season.
“We are a young team with three sophomores starting, so I felt we did a good job last week staying together as a team,” she said.
Concerning the tournament, she credited her team for a very good first two matches, but said tiredness crept up in the final match with Holdrege.
She would’ve liked to see the outcome had they faced Holdrege in their first outing of the day.
She feels confident heading into the season, especially with an offense that has five strong hitters on which the team can depend. All five have similar stats early in the season.
“We can count on all of them,” she said.
This week, the team has a little lighter load. After played at Wray, Colo., Tuesday night, the team will host Holyoke, Colo., for its home opener Tuesday, Sept. 11, then travel to Wauneta-Palisade next Thursday, Sept. 13.
Games on the home court Tuesday against Holyoke start at 4 p.m. with the C game, followed by JV and varsity action.
Fans may want to take in Tuesday night’s home opener. The Lady Longhorns won’t play again on the home court until Sept. 27.
Quick match at Haxtun
It didn’t take the Lady Longhorn varsity team long to put away Haxtun last Thursday—about an hour. Chase County won 25-11, 25-10 and 25-4.
Schuller said she was happy her team performed at their level and didn’t relax, despite a fairly non-competitive match.
Chase County tallied 31 kills to Haxtun’s 10, and were led at the net by Mindy Castle with eight kills, Kristen Jussel, seven, and Paige Spady with seven.
As a team, Chase County had a .483 hitting efficiency (31 kills, two errors), as Haxtun was at minus .190.
The Lady Longhorns were 61 of 64 from the line for 95 percent and 19 ace serves. Kaycee Bubak and Castle each had five aces, while Bethany Sorensen scored four.
Sorensen, the team’s setter, was credited with 21 assists.
Chase County’s JVs also won in straight sets, 25-11 and 25-11.
Makenna Wallin led the hitters with eight of the team’s 22 kills, while Makala Bartels had seven. As a team, they served 47-50 for 94 percent, which included four ace serves.
The Chase County C team won in two, as well, 25-15 and 25-18.
The team served 42-46 for 91 percent, including nine ace serves, four of them from Cheyanne Kuhlmann. Kuhlmann also led the hitter with four kills among the team’s 14 total.
Chase County started out strong Saturday with a straight-set win over St. Paul in the tournament opener, 25-15 and 25-20.
“We started off real well and were ready to play,” Schuller said against a St. Paul team that’s won the tournament several times.
Chase County was .196 in hitting efficiency on a total of 14 kills and four errors. Paige Spady led the team with five and Castle had three. St. Paul had a .044 hitting efficiency and 20 kills.
At the serving line, the Lady Longhorns missed just two (46-48) for a 95 percent mark including eight aces. Bubak and Castle each had three ace serves.
Sorensen had 13 assists at the setter position.
Against Broken Bow in the semi-finals, Chase County came up against a salty Lady Indian Team, but won in three, 26-24, 8-25 and 25-23.
In the first game, Chase County fell behind by as much as 10 points, but clawed back to win the opener.
Schuller said they switched their defense, setting up a triple block in the middle that forced Broken Bow into some wayward hits and others into the net. Bridget Langin also came off the bench to contribute some key hits at the right times, Schuller said.
Chase County had too many hitting errors, 18 in all, which affected their hitting efficiency of .055. Of their 25 kills, MaKenna Ketter was the leader with nine.
Broken Bow actually had better offensive stats with a .124 hitting efficiency on 35 kills and 20 errors.
Chase County again produced at the serving line, missing just four of 59 for a 93 percent serving mark, including three aces.
Morgan Fisher had 13 digs, while Sorensen had 24 assists as setter.
In the finals against Holdrege, Chase County lost in two straight, 16-25 and 24-26.
She said her team was tired by then, and it showed.
“We just couldn’t put them away,” she said.
Chase County had 16 kills and five errors for a .143 hitting efficiency, while Holdrege put up 29 kills with 13 errors for a .198 hitting efficiency.
Kristen Jussel led the hitters with five kills, while Ketter had four.
They faltered a bit at the serving line, missing six (34-40) for 85 percent and just one ace.
Fisher had 11 digs and Sorensen tallied 16 assists.