Local high school volleyball action

Pictured, Gibault’s Lauren Schmidt and Rachel Lindauer leap to block a volley from Wesclin on Thursday. For more photos from this game, visit www.republictimes.net/photo-store. (Alan Dooley photo)

The high school volleyball season started with a bang last week, with a couple of local teams posting big early wins. The Eagles and Bulldogs opened with impressive wins, as did Valmeyer and Dupo. Gibault bounced back from an opening match loss to win its second contest.

Following a decisive two-set victory over Marissa last Tuesday, Columbia avenged last year’s regional loss by blasting the Althoff Crusaders in Belleville on Thursday, 25-19 and 25-16.

Colene Hamilton led Columbia with seven kills on the night, followed by Megan Huffman with four. Kelly Metter and Kendall Rossler added three kills apiece, and Claire Long and Caitlyn Touchette distributed the ball well along the front line.

“The girls were very excited about the win,” Columbia head coach Kelly Landgraf said. “I know they felt somewhat like the underdog going into the match because of the great players Althoff returned from last season’s squad. I think we knew that we were oversized so we tried to keep the ball away from the middle as much as possible.”

Landgraf added that her team tweaked its normal defense to help keep Althoff’s hitters under control.

“I was very proud of the leadership and maturity the girls showed throughout the entire match,” she said. “They were able to keep the ball in the court and force Althoff to play.  They seemed focused the entire match and never lost sight of the win.”

Waterloo also opened in impressive fashion, defeating Freeburg last Tuesday night in three games, 25-27, 25-7 and 25-13.

“The girls played the best I have seen them play together throughout the summer or last year,” Waterloo head coach Angie Crawford said.

Sydney Ratz led the team with 13 points, followed by Kelsey Hamann with 11.

Mallory Scharf was the defensive leader at 86 percent on digs. On serve receive, Scharf and Kylie Albrecht led the team.

Hamann had 17 assists, and Kathryn Finnerty led the team with eight kills.

“Our challenge is blocking.  We are continually working on this and making adjustments in our strategy to fit our girls’ strengths,” Crawford said.

Finnerty led the way with two solo blocks and three block assists.

Waterloo followed up the Freeburg win with a loss to O’Fallon on Thursday.

“It was a totally different game,” Crawford said. “The level of intensity wasn’t there on our part.”

 Top servers for Waterloo were Emelia Modglin and Hamann with two points each. Finnerty lead the team with one solo block and four block assists.

Hamann had 16 assists to lead the ‘Dogs against O’Fallon.

“O’Fallon was a great experience to remind our girls to bring their game every night and never doubt,” Crawford said. “We are leaving that game behind in hopes of moving forward with the ‘Yes I Can’ attitude.”

Waterloo played at Edwardsville on Tuesday night.

Gibault also split its two matches last week, following up a three-set loss to Red Bud with a three-set home win over Wesclin.

“The matches last week were both exciting, and it is very apparent that my team this year plays with heart and determination, no matter the situation,” Gibault head coach Heather Ebert said. “In the first week, the girls showed that aggressive serving and defense have come a long way. Our spot serving is what has kept us in these tight games.”

The Hawks dropped the first set at home to Wesclin on Thursday, 22-25, but rallied to take the next two sets, 25-18 and 25-19, for the team’s first win of the season.

Ashley Grohmann had 26 assists and three aces for the Hawks against Wesclin and Kelly Dooley had 15 digs and 10 kills.

Dooley leads the team with 18 kills on the season in the early going.

Gibault played Mehlville on Tuesday night.

Valmeyer opened its 2014 campaign Friday night with a 25-11, 25-11 two-set win over Valley Park.

Miranda Kaufmann led the offense with six kills and 12 service points.

Tiffany Brewer chipped in five kills and a block.

Jordyn Killy had 13 assists. Savannah Williams led the defense with 11 digs and six serve receives.

The Pirates hosted Marissa on Tuesday night. The result was not available at press time.

Dupo defeated Christ Our Rock in three sets on Thursday, 20-25, 25-23 and 25-21. Rachael Donald and Megan Brown led the team in kills with seven apiece. Caitlyn Brizzi ended with 16 assists.

Great defense by Jessica Stansch and Skylure Barlow also helped the team out, Dupo head coach Brooke Kloess said.

“I was very frustrated after the first game, because it was the same old story of playing closely and being capable of winning, but just not getting the job done,” Kloess said. “The girls refocused and came back mentally ready to win. Hopefully, this first win will help them gain the confidence they need.”

 (For a full fall sports schedule, visit online at www.republictimes.net/local-high-school-sports-schedules)

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Corey Saathoff

Corey is the editor of the Republic-Times. He has worked at the newspaper since 2004, and currently resides in Columbia. He is also the principal singer-songwriter and plays guitar in St. Louis area country-rock band The Trophy Mules.
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