West Holmes

Lady Knights don’t mess around with Rams this time

The first time the West Holmes and Madison volleyball teams met up this season, the Rams took a commanding 2-0 set lead on their home floor. However, the Lady Knights came roaring back and stole the match by winning the final three sets.

This time around, in The Dungeon on Sept. 27, the Lady Knights had a set of twins back in action that didn’t play the last time the Lady Knights and Rams met. With seniors Kacie and Kylie Leppla back in Savannah Moore’s rotation the Lady Knights had an easier time defeating the Rams this time.

West Holmes got 17 total aces and looked like juggernauts from the service line all night on the way to a four-set win over the Rams, 20-25, 25-23, 25-14 and 25-20.

The Lady Knights got six aces from junior Lauren Park and five more from Kacie Leppla. In fact, Kacie Leppla had a total of 29 service points on Tuesday night, a ridiculous number. Any time the Lady Knights were behind and Kacie Leppla served, they would catch up. If the Lady Knights were ahead and Kacie Leppla came to the service line, she would put them further ahead.

“Set one, we’re going to try and to forget about that one,” said West Holmes’ coach Savannah Moore. “We really didn’t do anything well in set one, but we served dimes the rest of the way. I gave them zones and they were hitting seams between passers all night.”

The Rams tied up things with West Holmes in set one at 12 points apiece and had Ashton Floyd at the serving line. Floyd ripped off five straight points for the Rams to push them ahead 17-12. West Holmes rallied back to tie it up at 18 on a Park smash, but the Rams would get two crucial kills from Taylor Rose to gain back the lead and take the first game 25-20 over the Lady Knights. (video)

Set two was a heart-breaker for the Rams who led 20-19, then trailed 23-20, but made a charge at the end to get the game to 24-23 with the Lady Knights just ahead. The Rams then hit a serve into the net that handed set two to West Holmes 25-23 and crushed the momentum of Madison.

“That’s tough way to end set two,” said second year Rams’ coach Mandy Glessner. “Then we had a little bit of a downfall after that in set three. Momentum is huge and it kept swinging their way. We would get little bursts of momentum, but it wasn’t enough.”

Moore said that she and the Lady Knights noticed something good about the Rams’ offense in set one and then adjusted their service game to disrupt Madison’s flow.

“They ran a good offense in set one so we knew that our serves needed to be more aggressive to keep them out of system,” said Moore. “We were finally able to get them out of their system and keep them out of their offense in set two.”

Set three was all Lady Knights who jumped out to a 13-8 lead and never looked back. Kacie Leppla hit the service line when the score was 3-3 and got five straight points with two aces to open it up.

Park then lifted the Lady Knights to a 18-10 lead in set three with one of her nasty kill shots. West Holmes then ended set three on a 7-4 run that included a kill from Makena Mullhall and one from senior Sammie Hall.

“Set three happened quick and it was as if someone just switched off all our players,” said Glessner.

West Holmes carried that momentum on to set four where they were able to put the Rams away quietly this time, rather than needing to come from two sets down.

“At Madison was one of the best games of our season because we came back from being down two to nothing,” Moore said. “They battled for that game over there and we did the same thing tonight. We had a lot of girls set up tonight, especially in that third set.”

In set four with the Lady Knights leading 17-14, Kacie Leppla once again toed the service line and got five straight for the Lady Knights to virtually put the game and match away.

“Kacie’s mental focus on the serving line is the best I’ve ever seen,” said Moore. “She goes back there and its just her and the ball, she looks at my zone call and she hits it. If you give her a zone to hit, she is going to hit it. She aims small and misses small.”

Court Shorts

1. West Holmes’ senior Makena Mulhall is beginning to make a difference, and not just with her game. She has been an absolute spark-plug for the Lady Knights with a great attitude and work ethic while also coming up with big blocks and scoring points when the Lady Knights need her.

“At the beginning of the season, I was on her every play because I knew she was going to be a high impact player at the end of this season,” said Moore about Mulhall. “She’s been extremely determined in practice to get better. We don’t get to run a lot through her in our offense and that doesn’t discourage her. She is very selfless when it comes to pulling blockers for Lauren and she did that tonight.”

Mulhall had seven kills and seven blocks against the Rams on Tuesday, showing her worth.

2. Over the last two seasons the Madison Rams’ volleyball program has made major strides under the tutelage of Glessner. The team’s demeanor and mindset has changed and with that they have improved drastically on the court. Glessner’s philosophies are working and she’s doing it with players that don’t have a lot of varsity experience.

“Our girls are really young right now,” said Glessner. “We have two seniors on the court, but we don’t have a lot of varsity experience collectively. “There’s a difference between last year’s team and this year’s team.

“My players know me now and are used to the discipline,” said Glessner. “They now understand what it takes to get work done. It’s a good thing and we are on the upswing.”

3. Twinning! Not only are the Lady Knights winning, they are twinning. A couple times on Tuesday night the Lady Knights had two sets of twins in their rotation. Kacie and Kylie Leppla and Emily and Sarah Anderson were all four on the floor at one time. Can’t imagine there is another team in the state that can say they can do that.

4. Stat-stuffer = West Holmes’ Lauren Park finished the match with 24 kills, 12 digs, six blocks and five aces.

Up Next:

West Holmes is now 10-6 on the season and 4-5 in the Ohio Cardinal Conference (OCC). Up next the Lady Knights will play at Lexington on Thursday, Sept. 29.

For the Rams, they drop to 4-12 on the season and 2-7 in the OCC. Madison will be at Wooster on Sept. 29.

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