Rockets enjoy atmosphere at conference
Last season the Rockets volleyball team wasn’t allowed many in the stands and was shut down due to COVID and didn’t get the opportunity to play as the #1 seed in the Nebraska Capitol Conference Tournament or their last two regular-season contests. This season it was game on for the ladies and the rambunctious student section as they headed into the conference tournament, again as the #1 seed.
First Round Vs Louisville (9-17)
The Lions struck first in the first set to take the lead 1-3 and the Rockets countered early with kills from seniors Lily Vollertsen, Lindsey Moss, and Cassidy Roberty to quickly tie the score at 4. After that, the Lions never saw the lead again during the entire match. With scores of 10-4, 15-6, 20-9, and finally 25-13, the Lions continued to make errors while the Rockets pounded kill after kill.
In set two, the Rockets took early leads of 10-3, 15-4, 20-8, and the win at 25-10. Senior Kennedy Stanley highlighted the set with 3 out of the teams’ 5 ace serves.
In the final set, Louisville failed to go on any point runs while the Rockets went on runs of 5, 8, and 4 to finish the score at 25-5. Serve receive proved to challenge the Lions as the Rockets proved to be a fine oiled machine in all areas of the game.
On the night the Rockets hit .388 as a team with Moss leading with 12 kills, sophomore Delainey Cast 10, and Vollertsen 8. The Rockets had 10 ace serves compared to 8 service errors. Stanley had 5 total aces. Senior libero Shayla Thompson had 10 digs while Cast had 9, and sophomores Eva Brammier and Rylee Seelhoff each had 8. Stanley had 39 set assists while also contributing 3 kills on setter dumps.
Semifinals Vs Raymond Central (14-10)
The Rockets hosted the Mustangs on Thursday night in a rematch that went four sets earlier in the season that ended in a Rocket win. The Rockets struck quick in the first set with leads of 10-4, 15-7, 20-8, and finally 25-11. Raymond Central struggled hitting while the Rockets were firing on all cylinders.
The Mustangs kept up a bit better in the second set and pushed late. The Rockets led 10-5, 15-9, until a 19-19 tie. As the Mustangs pushed with a couple of kills in the final points, they also erred on attacks and a 2 contact call to fall behind with the Rockets winning 25-22.
In the final set, the Rockets fell behind early at 2-5 and eventually tied the game at 10. The Rockets made it to 15 first at 15-13 and pushed to a 20-15 lead from there. The match ended with a Rocket win at 25-17.
Hitting .235 as a team, Cast and Vollertsen each had 11 kills and Moss had 9. Stanley dished out 27 assists. Moss led with 13 digs, Stanley 9, and Seelhoff and Thompson 7 each. The Rockets served 94.7% with Stanley leading with 2 aces.
Championship Vs Yutan (20-6)
On Saturday the Rockets ventured to Raymond Central High School for the Nebraska Capitol Conference championship game against Yutan. The Rockets beat Yutan 3-0 in their first contest of the season.
In the first set, the teams bantered back and forth with ties at 5, 10, and 17, when the Rockets went on a run with a backrow kill by Moss, a setter dump by Stanley, and back-to-back kills by Cast, Vollertsen, and Sisco to force a timeout by the Chieftans at 22-17. Following a few sideout points, Moss fired a kill through the block to finish the set at 25-20.
The Rockets fell behind early in set two and tied it up at 5. The Rockets kept leads of 10-9, 15-12, 20-14, before finishing at 25-21on a Moss kill to the back corner.
In the third set, the teams exchanged points back and forth but the Rockets found themselves behind 8-10, 13-15, 15-20, and finally at 21-25 to force another set.
In the fourth set, Yutan won the race to 5, 10, and 15, but the Rockets were never far behind and finally tied the score at 16 and never looked back on their way to a 25-19 win and conference championship. The Rockets’ last conference championship was during the 2013-2014 season with a win 3-1 over Wahoo.
Hitting .315 as a team, Moss and Cast led with 19 kills while Vollertsen added another 10. Stanley dished out 56 set assists. Moss and Cast used a two person serve receive most of the match and contributed 32 and 34 receptions, respectively. Stanley led with 14 digs and Seelhoff and freshman Jayden Meyer each had 12.
The Rockets (23-1) only have two more regular-season games. They traveled to Arlington (14-10) on Tuesday and will host Louisville again on Thursday. The Rockets will host the C1-2 Subdistrict on October 25-26. The sub includes Ashland-Greenwood, Conestoga, and Louisville. The winner of the sub will play in district finals on Saturday, October 30, with the 12 subdistrict winners and the next 4 hightest in wildcard points. The higher seeded team will host the district final match unless the two schools are 180+ miles apart then a neutral site will be used.