By Coach Tina Turn
Our Oct. 6 match-up with the Grygla-Goodridge Chargers was moved up to Monday, Oct. 3 at Goodridge. Coming into the match, KCC was sitting in third place in the section, closely followed by G-G at fourth place. It was a big Conference match, and the Bearcats were hungry for a win after their five-set loss to Roseau last Thursday.
In the opening set, Ella Olson jumped to a solid start with a hot hand. She recorded 6 kills in the offensive effort, but it was one of Kaydence White’s 3 kills that prompted big cheers as that kill provided sophomore setter Morgan Turn with her 1,000th career assist. The Bearcats were able to move on past that milestone to get the win 25-18.
Set two didn’t flow as smoothly for the Bearcats as the Charger blocking game picked up. KCC picked up some nice cover balls, but the scrambling made it hard to find a rhythm. Down 5-10 and then 10-17 when timeouts were called, it was the second break that helped KCC kick it in gear. In the home stretch, KCC tied it up at 22 but a couple of hard hits from G-G, coupled with a serving error led to the 23-25 loss.
The Bearcats were back on track in set three. White led the offense with 4 kills; she also added a solo block as she worked hard at the net, forcing the Chargers to tip. KCC picked up those tips and converted on them to win 25-19. The Bearcats kept G-G out of system with tough serving and 6 aces in the set.
Turn opened the fourth set with a nice string of serves that gave the Bearcats the early lead. Seven consecutive hitting errors led to free points for the Chargers who found themselves in the lead. A serving run by Berlyn Strege, and a 6-point run by White, who had 2 aces in her time at the line, solidified the Bearcat momentum which led to a 25-16 win off a Strege kill.
Serving for the night was better than it was against the Rams, although we still missed a healthy amount of serves. The 14 aces helped to offset those points, but it’s a stat we want to hone going into the home stretch of the season. There was impressively solid play all around in this important Conference win. The Chargers have some good hitters and it was important that we work hard to slow them down at the net to ease the pressure on the back court defense. It was a good team effort, and our defense came up big with a ton of digs in a win that moves our season record to 15-7.
JV: 25-19, 25-14
C-team: 25-15, 25—-18
8th: 25-14, 25-12
7th: 11-25, 26-24, 15-11
In their second match-up of the season, KCC hosted the Storm of Stephen-Argyle Central in Hallock on Tuesday, Oct. 4. KCC was rebounding off a four-set victory the night before on the road in Goodridge and were looking for back-to-back wins.
It was smooth sailing for the Bearcats as all cylinders were firing early on. KCC hit the Storm serve receive hard with 5 aces, while adding 11 kills and a block. Senior middle hitter Aidra Johnson led the offense with 5 of her 10 kills in the first set, which the Cats won 25-16.
It wasn’t until point 8 when Kaydence White stepped to the serving line that KCC spread out their lead. Her 5-point serving run helped propel the momentum forward. Johnson and Morgan Turn added solo blocks, and Ella Olson got hot with 7 kills. The Bearcats snatched the second set 25-20.
Set three was a battle of trading points, and the Bearcats, who work toward a goal of earning 15 points, instead handed over 15 points on unforced errors to make the Storm’s job pretty easy. Despite an Annika Johnson serving run and a Berlyn Strege serving run, KCC just could not find the energy to fight for the third set win, and they lost 19-25.
The fourth set started slowly for the Bearcats. After committing a few early mistakes, KCC re-focused and worked to put themselves in the driver’s seat. Ella Olson led the way with 7 kills, while White added 4. A balanced attack and great work by our back row defenders like Lily Peterson helped solidify the 25-20 victory.
We hadn’t had back-to-back game nights, and while overall play was decent against the Storm, you could feel the energy waning as the girls were tired from the four-set match the night before. Mentally, they helped themselves through their exhaustion and found a way to support each other by committing to their jobs in a bigger way. Serving met our goal tonight, and the team combined for 8 aces.
The win moves the Bearcat season record to 16-7.
JV: 25-21, 25-17
C-team: 25-17, 25-20
8th: 25-27, 25-21, 10-15
7th: 25-16, 25-23