Rocket VB battles past LC

Lynn Wilhelm

On Thursday, Sept. 9, the S-D-A Rocket volleyball team learned quickly that the much improved Lincoln Christian Crusaders (6-5) were ready to battle.

Falling behind 1-6 in the first set, the Rockets called their first time-out to discuss the strong serve and big block of the Crusaders. Out of the time-out, the Crusaders missed their serve and senior Lindsey Moss went to the service line and served six straight tough serves to tie the game at 7. 

With the lead changing numerous times, the Rockets reached set point first at 24-20 only for Christian to fight back and tie the game at 24 and again at 25. The Crusaders prevailed in set 1, 27-25.

The Rockets fell behind early in set two and called time-outs at 3-7 and 10-15. They finally tied the score at 17 and never fell behind again. Moss’ three back-row attack kills were key in the latter part of the set for the Rockets. The set finished on a senior Lily Vollertsen kill at 25-23.

The Rockets struck early in set three as Christian was pushed out-of-system with tough serving and multiple kills by Vollertsen, sophomore Delainey Cast, and Moss again from the back-row. Never trailing, the Rockets won the set on an ace serve by Moss, 25-17.

In the fourth set, the teams tied the score at 2, 11, 14, 17, and 18 before the Rockets pulled away with a 25-19 win. 

Rocket kill leaders included Moss with 16, Vollertsen 13, and Cast 13. They hit .235 as a team. The Rockets had 9 aces serves, but also missed 9 serves. Ace leaders included Moss with 3 and senior Kennedy Stanley with 2. Moss and Cast led the team with two blocks each. 

With 83 digs in the match, Cast led with 18, Moss 14, senior libero Shayla Thompson 14, Stanley 13, and sophomore Rylee Seelhoff with 12. Thompson led in serve receive with 32, Moss 26, and Cast 23. 

Senior Kennedy Stanley notched 43 set assists, 10.8 assists/set. She is averaging a stellar 9.6 assists/set for the season. 

With the win, the Rockets improve to 5-0 and have given Coach Courtney VanGroningen the 100th win of her career. Her varsity season records, all at Syracuse, are 2017 - 24-5, 2018 - 26-4 (state qualifier), 2019 - 23-4, 2020 - 22-2 (state qualifier), and 2021 5-0.

"Overall, it was great to see the girls play a competitive team and get challenged. Lincoln Christian did a great job getting us out of system, as we struggled in serve receive," said VanGroningen. "It was nice to see some of the upperclassmen step up in critical times throughout the match to get the job done. There were many times where they went on runs and the girls kept their composure and battled back."

The Rockets’ played Tuesday at Plattsmouth (2-6) in a triangular with the host and Nebraska City (2-5). They have a home match with Platteview on Thursday with reserve starting at 5:00 and junior varsity and varsity to follow. They venture to the Fairbury Tournament on Saturday; a tournament they have won the last four years. Next Tuesday they play Malcolm and Conestoga at Malcolm. 

Coach Courtney VanGroningen  poses with players after scoring her 100th coaching victory.