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Newer KCC varsity volleyball team finding its identity as season starts

By Coach Tina Turn
The 2022 volleyball season kicked off with practice on Monday, Aug. 15. After over two weeks of practicing, the Bearcats played in their first match of the season at Sacred Heart on Tuesday, Aug. 30. The season roster sports a lot of rookies and young athletes: four seniors, seven sophomores and three freshmen. It will be exciting to discover what the team’s collective strengths will be as there will certainly be some rookie jitters to start the season, but confidence will surely increase with every match.
In the first contest, Sacred Heart opened set one with strong serving. Some hesitancy on serve receive made it hard for the Bearcats to set up an offense. Nine kills were tallied, with 4 of them going to senior outside hitter, Ella Olson. Blocking and backcourt defense didn’t really find their groove in set one as the Bearcats fell 15-25.
KCC calmed down in set two and displayed much more focused and in-rhythm play. We increased our tally in the kill column to double digits with 11 kills. Freshman middle hitter Kaydence White scored three times with her swings to pace her teammates. Senior Aidra Johnson added 2 kills as did both sophomores Berlyn Strege and Morgan Turn. At the net, the Bearcats found the ball in set two and tallied three blocks, which forced the Eagle offense to vary their attack. It was a battle of trading points in the home stretch of the second set but ultimately the Cats fell short 23-25.
Feeling the shift of momentum, the Bearcats ran with it to open set three, and recorded a much more impressive 13 kills. KCC also held down the unforced errors that plagued them in the first two sets. The combination of those two things, along with more focused and purposeful serving led to the 25-15 Bearcat win. Olson was the high-point person on offense in the set with five kills.
The lead switched multiple times in the early part of set four, but our serve receive got hit hard in two rotations and that was enough to allow the Eagles the momentum down the stretch as they surged to a 25-18 win. Once again Olson paced the attack with 5 kills.
This was almost an entirely new team on the court this year, and they are figuring out their identity. The match with the Eagles gave them some hints at what they are becoming. Serve receive passing was the poorest area, so look for them to focus in hard on that in practice and steadily improve. Despite not meeting their passing goal, they met their hitting efficiency goal and can be proud of converting on balls that were out-of-system. That showcases how their athleticism will help them get things done. They had some nerves when it came to serving, but the blockers opened up the season finding the ball, which is usually a category that starts slow for us early in the season; that is encouraging.
On the other side of the court, the more experienced Eagles team were passing dimes all night on defense and serve receive. That left us playing much more defense than one hopes to play in a game, and we recognize that we need to work on that. Overall, this match was a good measuring stick for us, and we look forward to showcasing steady improvement.

7th grade: 25-10, 25-13
8th grade: 15-25, 14-25
C-team: 17-25, 15-25
JV: 25-21, 25-21

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