Volleyball defeats Highland Tuesday; Plays in Williamsburg tournament

Avery Blauvelt, Alyssa Hershberger

IMS volleyball nipped the Huskies of Highland 3-1 at Hillcrest Union last Tuesday night. This was the first time since 2013 that IMS has beaten Highland.

In the first set, IMS jumped out to a 4-0 lead, but after that IMS saw their lead whittled away by hitting and serving errors. IMS never recovered, being down by as much as 14-22, despite working back to a final set score of 21-25. “Given the recent injuries, our team was trying a different lineup and in addition to making unforced errors, the players had difficulties adjusting to the changed lineup,” coach Miller stated.

In the second set, Highland got out to the early lead 1-5, and play looked to be going the same as the first set for IMS. However, at 2-5, Avery Blauvelt served for three points out of four attempts bringing the score to 6-5 IMS. Raine Hathaway also got on a serving streak and serving four points out of five attempts increasing IMS’s lead to 12-7. Shortly after this, IMS switched back to a 5-1 offense and used this the remainder of the match. Highland made several service errors and IMS was able to make kills and digs at key times in the set and went on to win the set 25-17.

The third set saw several tied scores and lead changes early on. However, at 7-8, senior Raine Hathaway went on an 11 point serving streak, which included three aces, making the score 18-9. Alyssa Hershberger had eight kills for a 0.281 hitting percentage. Behind the strong play of these two seniors, IMS went on to win the set 25-15.

In the fourth set, Highland took the lead and held it, until IMS was able to tie the score at 16-16. A kill by senior Avery Blauvelt put IMS ahead 17-16. IMS maintained the lead and at 23-20 senior Alyssa Hershberger had a kill on a Rubye Ney assist. This was followed by a kill through the Highland block by Avery Blauvelt, giving IMS the win 25-20.

Statistical leaders for the evening were: Rubye Ney with 31 assists, Alyssa Hershberger with a single match career high 16 kills, Suzanna Yoder had 36 digs and Raine Hathaway had five aces.

The IMS volleyball team went 0-4 at the Williamsburg Tournament on Saturday, losing to host Williamsburg 12-25, 27-29, #6 ranked 3A Tipton, 12-25, 12-25, Bellevue 17-25, 20-25, and conference rival Pekin 24-26, 24-26.

“While our record at this tournament is not what we had hoped, it was a valuable learning experience as we were exposed to faster offenses than what we normally see. This gives our defense the opportunity to see different offenses, and learn how to adjust, and play against faster, bigger teams,” coach Miller stated.

“We are still getting accustomed to our lineup after injuries to sophomore hitter Mia Graber (knee) and junior setter Samantha Miller (ankle). Losing a setter in volleyball is akin to losing a quarterback in football. It takes time to get used to a new setter, Rubye Ney, and the people you play next to. Because the volleyball court is a small space, knowing how the person next to you plays is essential so that you may work together.”

“Junior Rubye Ney has done an incredible job stepping into the setter role. She is a smart player and her natural athletic ability lends itself to that position,” coach Miller said. Senior Monet Slabach has moved from the opposite hitter position to middle hitter, vacated by Rubye Ney. Monet has experience playing middle hitter on JV in past seasons. “Monet, too, has really taken the challenge, and has come on strong at the middle hitter position,” coach Miller stated. Senior Avery Blauvelt left the Libero position to fill her old position, outside hitter, replacing Mia Graber. “Avery is playing with more confidence this season and is able to vary her shots more than last year,” coach Miller commented.

Statistical leaders for the tournament were: Rubye Ney with 34 assists, Suzanna Yoder with 16 kills and 45 digs, and Avery Blauvelt with six aces.

Next up for IMS is pool play of the SEISC conference tournament. We play at Wapello starting at 5 pm on Thursday.