Rocket volley accelerates as season moves into latter stages

Lynn Wilhelm

The Lady Rockets volleyball team takes an 18-1 record into the latter part of the season. With a very busy schedule last week, they dropped their first match of the season against Elmwood/Murdock on Tuesday. 

Triangular at Murdock Vs Palmyra and Elmwood/Murdock

With an evening full of winning programs and a lot of talent on the floor, there was sure to be some excitement in store. The evening started with Palmyra (13-5) taking a win over Elmwood/Murdock (14-6), 15-25, 25-20, 25-19. The second match paired Syracuse with Palmyra.

In the first set against Palmyra, the Rockets fell behind as far as 5-10 and 10-15 before tying the score at 20-20. With multiple kills by Lindsey Moss and Delainey Moss in the final points, a push to the back corner by Kayden Sisco finished the set at 25-21.

The Rockets jumped to early leads in the second set of 10-3, 15-6, and 20-14 and finished at 25-17 on a Lily Vollertsen kill. Hitting .317 as a team the kill leaders were Moss and Cast 8, and Vollertsen 6. Moss led with 4 blocks while Sisco had 3 and Vollertsen 2. Moss and Cast had 7 digs each and Rylee Seelhoff had 6. Kennedy Stanley dished out 25 set assists. The Rockets served 93.2%.

The nightcap game with Elmwood/Murdock kept fans on the edge of their seat from beginning to end. Elmwood/Murdock’s 6’5 middle hitter and Kansas State Recruit Brenna Schmidt proved to give the Rockets a hard time in the front row. The teams traded sideouts until the Knights started pulling away to leads of 10-15 and 13-20. With Schmidt in the front row, the Rockets failed to get much past the net and had a hard time adjusting to Schmidt hitting to the back right corner. As the trend continued, the Rockets fell in set one, 25-19.

After a 4-4 tie in the second set, the Rockets took advantage of Schmidt in the back row and ran off 9 straight points behind Cast’s serving and kills by Vollertsen and Sisco in the front row. With leads of 15-6 and 20-7, the Rockets finished the set on a Stanley ace serve at 25-11.

The momentum continued for the Rockets into set 3 until the Knights rattled off 8 straight points with Schmidt in the front row for a 15-14 Knight lead. With Schmidt rotating to the back row, the Rockets could not convert any runs and the score was tied at 20 when Schmidt returned to the front. With late hitting errors by the Rockets and key blocks by the Knights, the Rockets fell in the third, 22-25, and the match 1-2.

With the Rockets hitting efficiency only .099, Moss led with 12 kills, Cast 8, Vollertsen 7, and Sisco 5. Sisco led with 3 blocks, Moss and Vollertsen 2 each. The Rockets served 87.3% with 9 errors and 2 aces. The defensive effort put Cast in front with 15 digs, Rylee Seelhoff 14, Stanley 13, and Thompson 11. Stanley had 33 set assists. 

Raymond Central

Playing a team in the upper echelon of the conference, the Rockets faced another talented middle hitter in Raymond Centrals 6’2 Emaree Harris at a home contest on Thursday. The Rockets found themselves a step behind throughout the first set falling behind at 8-10, 12-15,  16-20, and finally 20-25 to fall behind 0-1.

After an 8-8 tie in the second set, the Rockets rattled off 8 straight points behind the serve of Cast and numerous errors on the Mustage side of the net. The Rockets continued with side-out scoring until two ace serves by Moss and a kill by Cast finished the set at 25-15.

In the third set, with the teams tied at 17, the Rockets went on a run again behind the serving of six straight again by Cast with kills by Vollertsen and Sisco and errors by the Mustangs, to push to a 25-19 win. 

The Rockets jumped out to an early 15-8 lead in set four. With the teams exchanging errors on both sides of the net, the Rockets pushed to a 25-21 win over Raymond Central (13-7). Vollertsen headlined the Rockets with 21 kills on .400 hitting. Cast attributed 14, Moss 9, and Sisco 5. As the team overall block leader, Sisco added 4 blocks to the stat column. Dig leaders were Cast 12, Vollertsen 11, Stanley 10, and Thompson 9. Stanley dished out 48 set assists averaging 12 assists/set and had 5 ace serves. 

Logan View/Scribner-Snider

The Rockets traveled to second-year Capitol Conference member Logan View High School (9-14) on Saturday en route to a 25-13 25-12 25-22 win. 

As the Rockets jumped out to early leads off of errors by Logan View in sets one and two, the Raiders pushed a bit harder in set three but still fell in a Rockets sweep. Moss led the Rockets with 14 kills on .480 hitting followed by Cast with 10, Vollertsen 6, and Sisco 4. The Rockets served one of their best of the season at 95.7%. Moss had 12 digs, Cast and Thompson 7 each. Stanley had 25 set assists.

The Rockets hosted their own tournament on Monday with opponents Milford, Nebraska City, and Ralston. They have some time off until the Nebraska Capital Conference Tournament. As the number 1 seed, the first round will be at home against the play-in bracket winner of Louisville and Conestoga on Tuesday, October 12, at 7:00 p.m. The second round will also be at home on Thursday, October 14, at 7:00 p.m., against the winner or loser of Raymond Central and Arlington depending if the Rockets win or lose Tuesday. The third place and championship are at Raymond Central on Saturday at 1 and 2 respectively.

Cassidy Roberts goes for the kill.
Delainey Cast goes for a back row attack.
Delainey Cast goes for the kill.
Delainey Cast digs the ball.
Lily Vollertsen goes for the kill.
Lily Vollertsen goes for the tip.
Lindsey Moss and Kennedy Stanley team up for a block.
Lindsey_Moss goes for the kill.
Rocket bench players react during match action.