Rockets take regular season VB title

Lynn Wilhelm

The Lady Rocket volleyball team (26-1) finished the regular season last week with two wins over Nebraska Capitol Conference foes, Arlington and Louisville, and then took a first-round win in subdistricts against Conestoga. With the regular season wins and an undefeated conference season, the Rockets took home the plaque for regular-season conference champions.

Vs Arlington (14-12)

Last Tuesday the team headed to Arlington to face the Eagles. What started off a little shaky for the Rockets turned into a three-set sweep, 25-16, 25-20, 25-9.

In set 1, the Eagles jumped out to a 4-0 lead only for the Rockets to tie the score at 4 during the next rotation behind serves by senior Lily Vollertsen and kills by senior Lindsey Moss and sophomore Delainey Cast. As the teams bantered back and forth with tied scores at 9, 13, and 15, the Rockets finally took control with 3 ace serves from Moss and errors on the Eagles side for a 25-16 win. 

Set 2 was much the same with the last tied score at 14. Behind strong serving by the Rockets and errors by the Eagles, the Rockets led 20-16 and finally 25-20 off of a Moss kill assisted by senior Kennedy Stanley.

The Rockets were in complete control in set 3 with leads of 10-3, 15-4, 20-7, and finally 25-9. Arlington failed to go on any runs while the Rockets strung together a 9 point run behind Moss’ serving and back row kills and kills from Cast in the front row.

With Stanley dishing out 32 assists, the Rockets hit .325 as a team and were led by Moss with 13 kills. Cast hit an impressive .632 with 12 kills on 19 swings with no errors. The Rockets served 97.2% with 13 aces. Moss had 5 aces and Stanley had 4. Sophomore Kadyn Sisco dominated at the net with 6 blocks. Stanley had 10 digs, Cast 9, and sophomore Rylee Seelhoff and senior Shayla Thompson with 8 apiece. 

Vs Louisville (9-20)

In what turned out to be a rematch of a conference tournament game the week before, the Rockets fired on all cylinders on their home court against Louisville on Thursday.

In set 1, the Rockets jumped out to leads of 10-4, 15-7, 20-10, and 25-13. With tough serving, the Lions were pushed out of system and only had four kills the entire set compared to the Rockets twelve. 

The Lions hung around a bit longer in set two with the score tied at 9 before the Rockets went on a 10 point run behind the serving of Seelhoff. The Rockets jumped out to a 20-12 lead and a 25-14 win. 

The Lions decided to roll over in set 3 as the Rockets came out strong with leads of 10-5, 15-7, 20-14, and 25-15 for the win. The Lions failed to go on any long runs while the Rockets went on two big runs of 6 and 5 behind Casts serve which included 4 aces.

The Rockets hit .299 as a team and held the Lions to .000. Vollertsen led with 13 kills while Moss and Cast each contributed 10. Sisco stepped up with 6 kills on 9 swings and no errors, hitting .667. The Rocket served 90.4% and Cast had 5 aces. Shayla Thompson controlled the backcourt with 10 digs. Stanley ran the offense nicely with 37 set assists. 

First Round of Subdistricts Vs Conestoga (6-21)

As the #1 seed, Syracuse hosted the #4 seed Conestoga on Monday night in the Class C1-2 subdistricts.

The Rockets dominated from the first serve. In set one they had leads of 10-2, 15-3. 20-4, and finally 25-5. The Cougars couldn’t find an answer to any part of the Rockets strategy. With the Rockets only making it through 5 servers, they compiled six ace serves during the set. 

Unfortunately for the Cougars, the Rockets did the same in both sets two and three. In set two, the Rockets led 10-0, 15-0, 20-5, and 25-10. In set three, the leads were 10-2, 15-3, 20-4, and 25-4. 

On the night, Cast led with 10 kills while Moss and Vollertsen each had 8. Stanley and Moss led with 5 serving aces a piece out of a team total of 14. Stanley dished out 27 assists. Often overlooked and in the shadows, the Rockets have continued to look impressive in the backcourt during serve receive and on defense. The defense only allowed one service ace and seven kills for the Cougars during the entire match. Playing back row for the Rockets include libero Shayla Thompson, Rylee Seelhoff, sophomore Eva Brammier, freshman Jayden Meyer, and six rotation players Moss, Cast, and Stanley.   

On the other side of the subdistrict bracket, Ashland-Greenwood ended Louisville’s season, 22-25, 25-14, 25-18, and 25-15. The Rockets and Bluejays played Tuesday night in the subdistrict final at Syracuse. The winner secured a spot in the district finals on Saturday, October 30. The 12 winners of subdistricts plus the next four highest non-subdistrict winners in wild card points get placed into a 16 team bracket based on wild card averages through subdistricts. The higher seeded team will host the district final match unless the two schools are 180+ miles apart then a neutral site will be used. At press time, the Rockets were 5th in wild card points giving them a high probability of playing in district finals on Saturday. Class C-1 state volleyball starts on Wednesday, November 3, with 1:00 and 3:00 games. All games, all sessions, are at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln.

The one-loss Rockets were all smiles after capturing the Capital Conference tournament and regular seasons titles.