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USC Rebel girls lose 2 last week

Team falls 3-1 to Hayfield, 3-2 to NRHEG in hard-fought battles

By Chuck Hunt - Editor | Nov 1, 2020

For the second time in a couple days, the United South Central girls volleyball team had a long, hard fought match but in the end they came up just short.

The Rebels lost to the New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva Panthers last Thursday, Oct. 29, by a score of 3-2. The scores of the sets were 25-18, 20-25, 26-28, 26-24, 15-9.

“This was a hard five-set loss tonight,” Rebels coach Joe Kuechenmeister said. “Credit to NRHEG for doing enough to make it through, but it wasn’t a particularly clean match by either team, and that’s what’s toughest to swallow.”

USC was led by Josie Schumann who had 24 kills, 16 digs, five blocks and one ace.

In addition, Izzy O’Rourke had six kills and three blocks, Melany Ehlert had four kills, 21 digs and two aces and Kiera Schultz also had four kills with four digs and one block.

“Our slow start in four of the five sets and serving woes really cost us an opportunity for a ‘W’ tonight,” Kuechenmeister said. “So those are the areas we need to focus on in practice in the next week to try and turn the corner.”

Other Rebels who did well were Dani Kirkeide who had 12 digs and two aces, Hannah Olson with nine digs and two aces and Sam Swanson with 37 assists, six kills, five digs, one block and one ace.

“We’ve been right there in the last two matches, it just hurts not to take the final step,” the Rebel coach said. “We’ll get there, we’ve just gotta keep working.”

Up next for the Rebels, now 1-2 on the season, is a trip to Waterville on Thursday, Nov. 5, to take on the Waterville-Elysian-Morristown Buccaneers.

Hayfield 3, USC 1

The United South Central Rebel volleyball team lost a long, hard-fought battle last Tuesday night, Oct. 27, when they fell to the Hayfield Vikings in four sets, 3-1.

Scores of the match were 23-25, 25-17, 25-20, 25-16.

“This was a tough match for us overall,” USC coach Joe Kuechenmeister said. “You’ve got to give a lot of credit to Hayfield for playing cleaner in big moments, but we feel we let an opportunity slip away from us tonight. We had a lot of success when we were in system and getting swings. Unfortunately, we got a little timid and strung together errors in sets 2, 3 and 4 and we couldn’t quite recover.”

Leading the team was Josie Schumann with a big night of 14 kills, 12 blocks, eight digs and one assist.

Izzy O’Rourke had six kills and five blocks, Melany Ehlert four kills, two blocks, six digs and two aces and Sam Swanson had three kills, 28 assists and four digs.

“I’m proud of the kids for hanging in there despite the adversity of the last couple of weeks,” the coach said. “Having only two practices to pull it all back together after our time away was a challenge, but we saw a lot of positive tonight despite that hurdle.”

One highlight of the night was the defensive play by the Rebel girls, the coach adds.

“As a team we registered 19 blocks, 17 of which came from our middles, Josie and Izzy,” Kuechenmeister said. “If we continue to have that type of presence at our first line of defense, good things are going to happen.”

Other Rebels who contributed to the team last Tuesday included Kylie Niebuhr with one kill and 10 digs, Kiera Schultz with one kill, Dani Kirkeide with eight digs and an ace and Hannah Olson with two digs.

“Overall, it was good to be in a match of this intensity,” the Rebel mentor added. “We learned some things about ourselves tonight that we can work to improve on and we look forward to getting back into the gym and preparing for NRHEG Thursday.”