Lady Wolverine spikers start 2-0!
Written by: Joel Priest
Sharp in some new duds, there were still two ‘duds’ they’d rather forget.
Fortunately, neither shaky set—the second against San Juan last Saturday, the third versus Montezuma-Cortez Tuesday night—was severe enough to deny Bayfield a 2-0 start to the 2012 season.
“In both games we had streaks of good and bad passing, and good and bad serving,” lamented senior Jennifer Phelps. “We need to be more consistent with those in order to be confident.”
Having used an improved jump-float serve to help the Lady Wolverines race out to a 7-1 Set 1 lead against the Lady Broncos from Blanding, Utah, sophomore Kirstie Hillyer appeared to be the most in need of a pick-me-up after two errant attempts gave the Lady Panthers a sudden 25-23 win in Set 3 [Set 1 went to BHS, 25-18 on a Katy Funkhouser ace, Set 2 25-14 on a looping dink by Micaela Knickerbocker].
But on match point, the 6’4” middle proved she was entirely back in ‘attack’ mode, splattering the ball into the center of M-CHS’ defense just beyond the three-meter line, for an emphatic 25-11 clincher.
Bayfield had swept SJ 25-15, 25-23 (in which BHS trailed from 4-3 to 16-16) and 25-21, match point recorded by a back-row kill by senior libero Jordyn Harrison off a Lindsey Reinmuth set.
“Excluding the third game here, I would say serving,” head coach Kelley Rifilato said, when asked of a victory-yielding common ground in the non-league matches. “And also, I thought our blocking for both games…maybe we didn’t get blocks for kills, but I felt like we were in the right positions, forcing people to tip and roll shots around us. We’re forcing them to turn their shots and that’s all I can ask.”
Indeed; in addition to likely suspects Hillyer, Phelps, and senior Kayla J. McCoy at the net, sluggers like Montezuma-Cortez seniors Danielle Waltman and Devon Biery and San Juan seniors Brooke Lyman and McKale Simpson had to contend with net-working by Reinmuth and junior Jenna Sirios.
“You’ll never hear me yelling at the middles to close the block, you’ll hear me yelling at the outsides to set the block correctly,” said Rifilato. “It’s that identifying your hitter, locating her, and then reading from there—and Jenna did a great job.”
“We’ve found out our spots are not set yet, we’re all still trying to figure out how we play as a team,” noted Reinmuth, who had 26 assists versus the Lady Panthers (Suzie Rhodes’ 15 led against SJ). “She [Rifilato] changes it all the time but you’ve got to work with what you have…together to pull it out.”
“‘Little’ [senior Kayla D.] McCoy didn’t play in the third set and I think that was a factor,” Rifilato added about the Montezuma-Cortez match. “She passes well and covers the court almost that you don’t notice her—which, I think, as a defender is a great thing because that means you’re playing your area and what’s in front of you. And having her in stabilized our back row in [Sets] One, Two and Four.”
“It’s funny, because you never know what’s going to make chemistry or break chemistry.”
Hillyer led Bayfield (2-0, 0-0 3A Intermountain) in kills with 11 in the opener against SJHS, while Phelps led against M-CHS with 12 (she had ten against Cassy Moon’s Lady Broncos, who dropped to 5-5 overall, while Hillyer had eleven against Barbara Chappell’s Lady Panthers).
Reinmuth came up with 12 digs total in the wins, and Harrison 11, while ‘Tall’ McCoy led defensively up front Tuesday night with four total blocks (Phelps had led last Saturday with three).
Conspicuous by exclusion in the Sept. 4 Denver Post coaches/media Class 3A poll, the Lady Wolverines will next see action at tomorrow’s re-named IML Volleyball Kickoff Classic [BHS’ official league opener comes versus Alamosa at home on the 22nd] in Fort Lewis College’s Whalen Gymnasium. The Lady Wolverines will first face Pagosa Springs at 9:30 a.m.
BHS received, more appropriately, #3 in Colorado Preps’ rankings, and M-CHS (1-1, 0-0 4A/5A Southwestern) knew to expect nothing less last night in Kayenta, Ariz., against 3A force Monument Valley.