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Rebels lose three, but are improving

By Chuck Hunt - Editor | Sep 12, 2021

USC’s Leah Winch receives a serve against the Kenyon-Wanamingo Knights.

The United South Central Rebel volleyball team hosted Kenyon-Wanamingo on Thursday, Sept. 9, and suffered their third loss of the season. The scores were 25-9, 25-22, 25-14.

“While it’s a 3-0 loss and not statistically our best output, I feel like we’re improving in a lot of areas,” coach Joe Kuechenmeister said. “We’re moving better, communicating as a unit and taking better swings at the net. On top of that, we had our best serving percentage of the season, and our best blocking performance, as well.”

The Rebels had four players with two kills each – Melany Ehlert, Kiera Schultz, Kendal Harpestad and Kyllah Curry. In addition, Ehlert had six digs, one block and an ace; Schultz had two digs and two blocks; Harpestad had two digs and an ace; and Curry had four digs, one block and one ace.

Sam Swanson had eight assists, two digs and one block.

Madelia 3, USC 0

This one was a real heartbreaker.

The United South Central Rebel volleyball team lost a truly hard-fought battle last Tuesday night, Sept. 7, when they took on the Madelia Blackhawks.

The scores of the three games were all very close: 25-23, 25-23, 27-25.

“This is a tough one to swallow,” USC coach Joe Kuechenmeister said. “The kids battled their tails off, and we just couldn’t get one to bounce our way at the end of each set. Credit Madelia for making the plays in crunch time, but it’s hard to take the “L” when you’re as close as we were to winning with an opposite score of 3-0.”

The Rebels were led by Melany Ehlert and Kiera Schultz, who each had six kills. Ehlert also had seven digs and one ace, while Schultz had eight digs, one block and one assist.

Sam Swanson and Hannah Meyer each had five kills, with Swanson adding seven digs and 24 assists, and Meyer had one block.

Kendal Harpestad had four kills, 16 digs and one ace, Kyllah Curry had two kills, 10 digs, two blocks and an ace and Lexis Kaupa had one kill.

Leah Winch added one dig and Erika Johannsen had five aces.

“As a team we need to continue to work to be in the system offensively,” Kuechenmeister said. “We’re having to send way too many free balls across the net right now, and it’s hard to score points when you’re not getting offensive swings.”

The coach says defensively the team was much improved from their first match, so that was a good positive to take away from this loss.

“Either way, the kids played better and even though it’s a loss, we’re focused on continuing to build this thing,” the coach says. “A lot of great glimpses of play tonight. Now it’s just a matter of putting it all together.”

The team did not have much time to rest, as their next match was set for last Thursday, Sept. 9, at home vs. Kenyon-Wanamingo.

T/ML/GHEC 3, USC 0

The United South Central Rebels volleyball team lost their first match of the year, falling 3-0 to the Truman/Martin Luther/Granada-Huntley-East Chain Mustangs on Thursday, Sept. 2.

The scores were 25-19, 25-22, 25-14.

“We struggled in our first meeting of the season,” coach Joe Kuechenmeister said. “It always takes a bit to shake the nerves and get into a rhythm, but we had a hard time finding our groove all evening.”

Leading the way for the Rebels was Kiera Schultz. She had five kills, six digs, four blocks and one ace.

Melany Ehlert added four kills, eight digs, one block and one ace. Kyllah Curry also had four kills, with six digs and an ace.

Kendal Harpestad had three kills, three digs and two aces, while Hannah Meyer had two kills and a block.

Leah Winch had four digs and Sam Swanson also had four digs, 18 assists and one ace.

“Give credit to T/ML/GHEC for playing a cleaner match,” Kuechenmeister said. “They really did a nice job keeping us off balance defensively, which made it hard to get in system and run an effective offense.”

The coach added that while it is a loss, it was nice to get that first match out of the way, especially when they have several kids playing bigger roles on the varsity floor this season.

“We learned some things about ourselves tonight that we’re going to work on to correct,” the coach said, “before we hit the court again at Madelia on Tuesday (Sept. 7).”

The Rebels were scheduled for a home match on Thursday, Sept. 9, against Kenyon-Wanamingo.