By Jan Schultz
The Imperial Republican
Chase County had a good start to its 2013 high school volleyball season, after winning the opener last Thursday and going 2-1 at Saturday’s Lexington tournament.
Of course, Head Coach Jodie Schuller would rather be 4-0, but said they’ll be working on those areas in which they came up a bit short on Saturday.
After opening the season with a dominant win over Haxtun, Colo., at home last Thursday, the Lady Longhorns lost their first match to Hershey at Saturday’s tourney, then defeated Lexington and Cozad later in the day.
This week, the Lady Longhorns hosted Wray, Colo., Tuesday night, then will travel to Holyoke, Colo., Tuesday next week. Action there starts at 4 p.m. with the C match.
Next Thursday, action returns to the home Longhorn court when Chase County hosts in-county rivals Wauneta-Palisade.
The Lady Broncos are 2-0 this week after winning opening matches against Wallace and Minatare. The C, JV and varsity matches are on the schedule to start at 5 p.m.
Coach Schuller didn’t have a lot to say about their opening match loss to Hershey Saturday.
The Lady Longhorns lost in straight sets, 11-25 and 12-25.
“We just didn’t compete. We had no rhythm at all,” Schuller said.
One consolation in the loss, she said, was, “We’ll play them again.”
That could actually happen three more times—at the SPVA conference tourney Oct. 17 and 19, the regular season game at Imperial Oct. 22 and at subdistricts Nov. 4-5 in North Platte.
Schuller did give some credit to Hershey, who she described as scrappy with a fast offense.
Hershey had a good day at the net with 17 kills and a hitting efficiency of .326.
Chase County had just nine kills in the game and finished with a minus .037 hitting efficiency. MaKenna Ketter led the team at the net with five kills.
At the serving line, Chase County was 20-24 for 83 percent. Shelby Jaeger led the team with three aces.
In other stats, Kaycee Bubak had six set assists, while Jaeger picked up 12 digs and Kristen Jussel tallied seven digs.
The Lady Longhorns came back to win their next two matches in straight sets over Lexington and Cozad.
Against Lex, scores were 25-20 and 25-8.
Chase County had a much better outing against the Lady Minutemaids, tallying a hitting efficiency of .259, while Lexington was at minus .103.
Ketter and Paige Spady led at the net with eight and six kills, respectively.
At the line, the Lady Longhorns were 44-49 for 90 percent. They chalked up 12 ace serves, half of them from Kristen Jussel and Bridget Langin, each scoring three.
For set assists, Langin was credited with nine while Bubak had five. Jaeger led in defense with 12 digs of the team’s 25.
In the finale, Cozad, another team in Chase County’s C1-11 subdistrict, also went down in two straight, 25-18 and 25-12.
Ketter had 11 kills while Jussel added seven in the team’s 27-kill total. As a team, their hitting efficiency was the best of their three matches at .275.
Cozad was held to 11 kills, finishing with a .125 hitting efficiency.
At the line, Chase County missed just two serves, going 46-48 for 96 percent. The team had eight aces, two each from Jaeger, Langin and Spady.
Bubak had 13 set assists, while Langin tallied nine of the team’s 25. Defensively, Jaeger picked up 17 digs out of 29 for Chase County.
Schuller said it was good to see her team come back to win the last two matches after suffering the opening defeat.
“The girls woke up. But, we do have some things to work on,” she said.
One of those areas is blocking.
Schuller said too many times Chase County’s blocks went out of bounds, largely because of their positioning.
“We do a really good job at practice, but at games we are a little late getting there and our hands are pointed out of bounds,” she said.
That needs to be corrected, she added.
“We’ll get better,” she predicted.
Chase County swept Haxtun in last Thursday’s opener, 25-14, 25-13 and 25-17.
Despite seeing some nerves, Coach Schuller said it was a good first match for her team.
“We were a little nervous at the start. There was some excitement built up,” she said.
That eventually settled down, she said, and Chase County played some good volleyball.
Eight different players had kills in the game, showing the team’s versatility on offense. Leaders were Ketter with 11 kills and Jussel with nine.
Schuller said it’s nice to have so many options for this year’s setters.
The team finished with a .260 hitting efficiency, compared to a minus .046 for Haxtun.
The Lady Longhorns were 62-73 from the line for 85 percent on serving. They put 13 ace serves across, three each from Bubak, Ketter and Langin.
Bubak had 18 set assists and Langin was credited with 10. Jaeger had 10 digs with Jussel picking up six.