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KCC volleyball open season at home with a win over the Sacred Heart Eagles

By Head Coach Tina Turn
The Bearcats volleyball team opened their season at home in Hallock on Tuesday, Aug. 29 when they hosted the Eagles of Sacred Heart. The varsity squad, comprised of five juniors and three sophomores, started off the season with a bang, treating the crowd to some long rallies, hard hits, and big blocks.
Sophomore Hanna Warnke served for the first play of the 2023 season, which ended in a Bearcat point. KCC earned 11 points off kills in the opening set, led by junior Berlyn Strege with four. Sophomore middle hitter, Kaydence White, chipped in three kills and a pair of blocks in the 25-14 win.
Both teams demonstrated solid defense, but junior libero Lily Peterson clocked five digs in set two, posting the most for both teams. Warnke, Strege, and Morgan Turn also each had two, which frustrated the Eagles who couldn’t find the floor.
On the offensive side, White led the way with five kills. The second set went in favor of KCC 25-20, ending strongly with a Strege ace.
In set three, the Eagles came out fired up to steal a set and the Bearcats, after a slight early lead, lost momentum after a string of unforced errors, and that was all Sacred Heart needed to light a little fire under their offense. KCC took a timeout down 13-17, and the Bearcats responded with a four-point run behind the serving of Strege who nailed three aces. Tied up at 17, the Eagles called a time out. They got one point, but with the sideout, Afton Lindgren stepped to the serving line and went on a run which forced the Eagles’ second timeout when they were down 20-23. The break wasn’t enough to stop the KCC momentum as Lauryn Whitlock went on to put the game to bed with an ace and a final score of 25-21.
It was very nice to start the season with a straight-set win. In the pre-season, the girls had some communication issues, which made them play hesitantly. It was good to see they resolved that for the opening match. Offensively, four players had five or more kills for the night, led by White with 12. Morgan Turn and Afton Lindgren are sharing setting duties this year, and they both had a nice first match. Blocking is a priority for us as a first line of defense, so the five blocks posted in match one is a terrific start. Serving was solid until set three where the Bearcats missed five serves, more than in the other two sets combined. This lowered their match percentage to 89 percent, below their team goal. They’ll want to work to improve that with each match. They recorded 11 aces, however, which helps to soften the percentage blow.
Overall, it was a solid first match, and this young team without any seniors showed some poise down the stretch when they were challenged. It is important to know they can respond well to adversity, and they’ll want to continue with that mindset throughout the season.

VB vs SAC

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KCC Volleyball players, Kaydence White #7 and Afton Lindgren #10, go up for a block in the Bearcats win over EGF Sacred Heart. (Photo courtesy of KCC Media Arts)

Hanna Warnke, KCC Bearcat #16, goes up for a kill during the Bearcats win over EGF Sacred Heart at home on Tuesday, Aug. 29. (Photo courtesy of KCC Media Arts)

LIBERO LILY PETERSON passes the ball to the setter during the Bearcats 3-set win over the EGF Sacred Heart Eagles. Peterson recorded 7 digs in the match.
(Photo courtesy of KCC Media Arts)

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