Two keys to winning volleyball games are finding a good offensive rhythm and controlling the net.
The Dixie Heights Colonels and Conner Lady Cougars had their moments doing those things in the season-opener for both teams at Conner’s John L. Crigler Gymnasium. But Conner did them better pulling off a 3-1 (25-16, 23-25, 25-14, 25-21) win.
Both teams knew the big hitters would take their swings with Conner recording 30 kills to 25 for the visitors. Conner junior middle blockers Peyton Walker and Lilly Hamburg had 11 and nine kills respectively. Dixie outside hitter and Jacksonville State (Alabama) commit Maia Long recorded 16 kills including a dazzling sideways kill to the opposite side of the front court and senior middle blocker Maggie Best had eight.
Conner had 14 blocks to just two from Long for Dixie Heights. Hamburg had six with Walker recording three and junior Jordan Potter recording two on Long. Junior outside hitter Carly Nehus added five kills and one block for Conner.
“I definitely think that we have multi-faceted attacks with our outside and middles,” said Douglas Rabe, Conner head coach. “It seems like it doesn’t matter who’s in the front row. It seems like each of them can put the ball down and give us points whenever we need them. I actually think our passing was very, very solid. We could have done better with the serves. But even whenever we gave points away, I feel like we were the ones that were in control attacking.”
Senior setter Briana Stone recorded 17 assists for Conner and junior setter Jordan Randsell had three. Junior libero Anna Hamilton led the defensive effort helping Conner get in that offensive rhythm.
“It was really good for us,” Hamilton said. “We actually played pretty well passing, setting and hitting. Some of us are first-year varsity (players). But still in practices, we work hard and have built chemistry. It’s going to be a good season.”
Dixie Heights saw freshman Riley Byrne record 18 assists at setter and two aces. Junior Celia Wallace had three aces.
“We’re trying to get more balance,” said Julie Kelly, Dixie Heights head coach. “Obviously we want to get Maia involved early because she sets the tone. But then we need to start spreading out the sets or (opponents) start camping on Maia and she has two blockers on her at all times. In order to do that, we have to be passing better. Our passing broke down in a couple games. It all starts with passing and serving. We missed a lot of serves so we’ll definitely get back in the gym and work on passing and serving.”
Conner had four aces. Senior defensive specialist Ryan Stewart led the way with two.
Both teams return to action Thursday. Conner travels to Newport Central Catholic (0-1) for a 7:30 p.m. match. Dixie Heights plays host to Cooper (1-0) at the same time.
Cooper 3, Simon Kenton 0
The Lady Jaguars scored a 25-15, 26-24, 25-14 victory against the host Lady Pioneers in the season-opener for both teams.
Cooper put up 31 kills, eight solo blocks, 29 assists, 69 digs and five aces. Senior libero Chloe Fortner led the defensive effort with 25 digs and third-year junior starting setter Sadie Smith had 26 assists and seven digs. Senior defensive specialist Ryle Kuehn had 10 digs.
“All of us were pretty positive coming into this game. We knew it wasn’t going to be an easy game,” Fortner said. “We fought point for point. We had super good rallies. We came out and communicated so well. Back row is just a big trust game. We were just super scrappy and didn’t let many balls drop at all. There’s always room for improvement. But we just came out strong for sure.”
The Lady Jaguars’ big hitters took care of the rest. Senior middle blocker Rylie Depue had 14 kills and five solo blocks with senior middle/opposite hitter Holland Morris had 10 to go with 17 digs, four aces and two solo blocks.
“We kind of made some little, bitty mental mistakes and got out of our game a little bit,” said Michelle Isaac, Cooper head coach. “But I think it made us dig down a little deeper and find ourselves a little bit. So our girls really started stepping up their games. It fired them up.”
Junior all-around Sophie Spanier had eight kills, 16 digs, two aces and two blocks for the Lady Pioneers. Sophomore all-around Keira Hans had eight kills, 20 kills and one ace. Sophomore defensive specialist Tori Chasteen had 14 digs, four kills and one block with freshman outside hitter/middle blocker Jenna Kitchens recording 13 digs, three kills and once ace.
“We executed better (in the second game),” said Amy Marx, Simon Kenton head coach. “We are young with a lot of room to grow. But despite the score, we put up some good numbers against a formidable opponent.”
Cooper plays host to Dixie Heights on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. Simon Kenton travels to the Bowling Green Invitational for three games starting with a 7 p.m. game against McCracken County at 7 p.m.
Notre Dame 2, Boone County 0
The Pandas opened with a 9th Region win over the Lady Rebels by 25-8, 25-9. Notre Dame had .531 hitting percentage with 29 kills and just three errors.
Sydney Nolan led the Pandas with 12 kills with freshman Lizzy Larkins recording 14 assists. Senior defensive specialist Kamden Schrand had six digs.
Notre Dame plays host to Sacred Heart on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. Boone County plays host to Bishop Brossart (1-0) on Thursday at 7 p.m.
Lexington Dunbar 3, Ryle 1
The Lady Raiders opened with a road loss against the Lady Bulldogs by 25-19, 23-25, 25-15, 25-23 scores.
Junior Kiana Dinn led Ryle with 18 assists, 10 kills and six digs. Junior Alexis Woolf had 23 digs.
Ryle plays host to Newport Central Catholic (0-1) on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. Cooper travels to Beechwood (3-1) on Thursday.
Bishop Brossart 2, Walton-Verona 0
The Lady ‘Stangs opened with a 25-14, 25-9 best-of-three non-region victory.
Bishop Brossart had 16 kills, one solo block, 15 assists, 25 digs and seven aces. Senior setter Savannah Seiter led the Lady ‘Stangs with 12 assists and sophomore middle blocker Corrine Blackburn had 11 kills. Junior libero Madelyn Kremer had eight digs and sophomore outside hitter Kate Neltner had five digs and four service aces.
Bishop Brossart travels to Boone County (0-1) on Thursday. Game time is 8 p.m.
Other Volleyball Scores:
Holy Cross 3 (25-14, 25-9, 25-19), Newport Central Catholic 0
Campbell County 3, Beechwood 2
Ludlow Classic Volleyball Scores:
Calvary Christian 2 (25-6, 23-25, 15-8), Newport 1
Calvary Christian 2 (25-7, 25-15), Dayton 0
Dayton 2 (25-21, 18-25, 15-10), Newport 1
Lloyd Memorial 2 (25-7, 25-16), Bellevue 0
Lloyd Memorial 2 (25-20, 25-7), Covington Latin 0
Covington Latin 2 (25-19, 10-25, 15-7), Bellevue 1
Villa Madonna 2 (25-6, 25-10), Holmes 0
Villa Madonna 2 (25-9, 25-8), Gallatin County 0
Holmes 2 (25-17, 27-25), Gallatin County 0
Covington Catholic 2, Conner 0
The Colonels (2-1) escaped Hebron with a 9th Region win against the Cougars (1-2) scoring both goals in the second half.
Junior Cole Hubert had one goal with senior Mac Tierney tallying the assist. Senior Joseph Planicka had the other goal with sophomore Andrew Roland recording the assist.
Junior goalkeeper Lucas Short had 10 saves for the Colonels. Conner goalkeepers Owen King, a junior, and sophomore Trey Wagner had nine and eight saves respectively.
Conner travels to Highlands (2-1) on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. The Colonels play host to Louisville Trinity (2-0) on Saturday at 1 p.m.
Highlands 6, St. Henry 1
The Bluebirds (2-1) took down the Crusaders (1-1) at Tower Park.
Senior forward Colin Pieper had three goals for a hat trick and one assist to lead Highlands. Senior forward Owen Rogiers added two goals with senior forward Casey Stiles scoring the other one. Senior forward Jack Lavin, junior midfielders Jack Haggard, Adarsh Khullar and Chad Gesenhues had one assist each.
Both goalkeepers had four saves. Senior Connor Mathis played goalkeeper for Highlands.
Highlands plays host to Conner (1-2) on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. St. Henry travels to Roger Bacon (Ohio) on Saturday at 11 a.m.
Beechwood 4, Villa Madonna 0
The Tigers (3-1) bounced back from their first loss of the season with a 9th Region win over the Vikings (0-3).
Sophomore Breaden Trejo scored two goals for Beechwood with senior Andrew Goodwin scoring one goal and assisting another. Freshman Cole Cole Bishop scored the other goal with sophomore Andric Aguilar and senior Ed Kaake tallying assists.
Beechwood plays host to Cooper (1-0-2) on Thursday and Villa Madonna travels to Mason County for a 6:15 p.m. game.
Holy Cross 3, Boone County 1
The Indians (3-0) stayed undefeated with the 9th Region win over the visiting Rebels (2-2).
Junior Nico Voight had one goal and one assist for the Indians. Junior Gabriel Reed and senior Evan McGlothin had the other two goals with juniors Brady Reusch and William Fisk recording assists. Junior forward Denis Rodriguez had the Boone County goal and junior midfielder Frankie Aguilar the assist.
The Indians travel to Dixie Heights (3-0) on Thursday at 8 p.m. Boone County plays host to Grant County (2-0) on Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
Newport Central Catholic 1, Cooper 1
The Thoroughbreds (3-0-1) and Jaguars (1-0-2) drew even in Union in a 9th Region battle. Senior forward Adam Morris scored the Cooper goal and senior forward Alex Morris had the assist. Junior midfielder Ryan Desmond had the NewCath goal.
NewCath plays host to Holmes (1-0) on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. Cooper travels to Beechwood on Thursday (game time not yet published).
Bishop Brossart 1, Ryle 1
The Raiders (1-1-1) and Mustangs (0-1-2) settled for a draw at the Mustang Athletic Complex.
Junior midfielder Diego Hoenderkamp had the goal and sophomore Chris Maraduaga the assist for the Raiders. Ryle junior goalkeeper Landon Barth faced eight shots and made six saves and junior Jack Nieman faced four shots and had three saves. The Bishop Brossart goalkeepers faced a combined 20 shots and had 12 saves.
Ryle plays host to Simon Kenton (1-3) on Thursday at 8 p.m. Bishop Brossart plays host to George Rogers Clark (2-1) at the same time in 10th Region action.
South Oldham 1, Simon Kenton 0
The Pioneers (1-3) hit the road in the 8th Region and lost to the Dragons (3-0).
South Oldham outshot Simon Kenton, 10-5. Freshman goalkeeper Miles Mullen made eight saves for the Pioneers.
Simon Kenton travels to Ryle (1-1-1) at 8 p.m. Thursday.
Walton-Verona 9, Gallatin County 0
The Bearcats (1-1-2) earned the 8th Region win over the Wildcats (0-2) with their first shutout of the season.
Senior Arif Ceylan had three goals and two assists to lead the Bearcats. Senior Mateo Mains and sophomore Alihan Ceylan had two goals each. Those were the first career varsity goals for Alihan Ceylan.
Senior Carson Grizovic had his first career varsity goal and two assists with junior Mason Morwessel scoring the other goal. Junior Tyler Wolfe had two assists with senior Cody Geiman and senior Jeremiah Abakuki tallying one each. Junior goalkeeper Sam Kunkle had eight saves.
Walton-Verona plays host to Campbell County (1-1) on Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
Holmes 5, Covington Latin 3
The Bulldogs won their season-opener over the Trojans (0-3) in the debut of Austin Gullett as head coach. Colton Anness, Robert Cameron, Zacarias Miranda and Max Tatoya scored the Holmes goals.
Holmes takes on Newport Central Catholic (3-0-1) on Thursday at Morcher Field. Covington Latin travels to St. Patrick (0-1) in Maysville on Friday for a 6 p.m. game.