In the opening set of Adams Central’s match against Aurora on Tuesday, the Patriots could not get out of their own way. AC committed more errors than it did in any other set and it could not slow down the Huskies’ top offensive weapon Kassidy Hudson.
“When you’re making those mental errors and stuff like that, you’re giving a team like that an extra lead that they don’t even need. When they’re in system, they’re really good,” said Adams Central head coach Libby Lollman.
The Patriots performed much better in the final three sets and executed at a more efficient clip, making for a competitive match. But Aurora proved to be too much and defeated Adams Central 25-17, 17-25, 25-18, 25-20.
Aurora came into the match with a 4-5 record, but the Class B foe has faced some stiff competition this season. The Huskies’ five losses to five ranked teams with a combined record of 35-6. As the spectators at Patriot Gymnasium found out, Aurora has some firepower.
“We knew (Kassidy) Hudson, on the right side, was a big part of their offense, and (Cassidy) Knust in the back row does a good job of keeping them in system, so we focused on winning the serve and pass and spreading the floor. We just weren’t doing those things, so they were in system a lot,” the AC coach said.
Hudson’s ability to slam the ball home was evident immediately. She recorded kills on three of the Huskies’ first seven points and finished with six in the set. Hudson led the team with 18 on the night. Hudson’s power coupled with a 5-1 run at the end of the frame led to an early Aurora lead.
But the Patriots flipped the script in the second set, and it started with the defense holding Hudson to just two kills. Meanwhile, the AC attack tuned up the Huskies with 16 kills, including six from Jessica Babcock, who finished the match with 13 kills.
After committing seven errors in the first set, including five from the service line, the Patriots seemed in much better control in the second frame. They didn’t have any serving miscues in the set.
The third set was back-and-forth for much of the way, until Aurora went it on a 6-1 run. Lexi Jones came up big towards the ned of the set, tallying three blocks, including two during the Huskies’ final run.
Adams Central seemed to be in control early in the fourth, jumping out to a 10-6 lead behind two kills and a block from Caitlyn Scott, as well as a pair of ace serves from Lauryn Scott. Then, disaster struck in the form of a 10-0 run that turned a 10-6 lead into a 16-10 AC deficit.
“Volleyball is a game of runs, and that’s the mental competitiveness of ‘We’ve got to get this next ball.’ And it’s hard when they’ve got a great server on the line like they did,” Lollman said. “If we’re going to make the next jump, that’s the next step we have to take, is find a way to get it done; whether it’s a pass or a hit, we’ve got to do it.”
At no point in the match had Aurora put together a run of more than five points, but Emily Erickson toed the service line for 10 straight points and gave her team command of the set.
As daunting as the 10-0 run seemed, the Patriots were still in it. They responded immediately with a 5-0 run to cut the lead to one. They eventually tied the match at 17-all on a kill from Scott. But the Huskies won eight of the final 11 points to claim the match.
Scott had five kills and a block in the final frame and was a big reason the Patriots were able to push Aurora to the end. She totaled 19 kills as well as a block and an ace on the night.
“She was swinging really well in the front row. We were moving her all over the place and she’s doing her job. Unfortunately, we’re just not giving her the ball enough when we can because they’re going on runs,” Lollman said. “It’s the consistency — we do some things really well, and I’m proud of our girls for that, but we need to do a better job when there’s a competitive on the other side of limiting their serves.”
Chelsey Wiseman finished with 31 assists, while Lauryn Scott recorded three service aces. Camille Wellensiek and Lauryn finished with seven and five kills respectively.
So far this year, the Patriots, who fell to 6-3, have lost only to a Class B school and two C-1 perennial powers in St. Cecilia and Kearney Catholic. AC will have a chance to bounce back on Thursday, when it hosts Doniphan-Trumbull (4-7).
“We’re going to focus on our side,” the AC coach said. “I’m really proud of these girls and the hard work they’ve put in, but to make that next step there’s still some things we need to fix. It’s still early in the season, so I think we can get there. We’re going to turn around and practice and keep competing.”
Aurora (5-5)................25 17 25 25
Adams Central (6-3).....17 25 18 25
Emily Erickson 0-1-0, Rachel Hunter 7-0-3, Kassidy Hudson 18-0-0, Raina Cattau 2-0-0, Kasey Schuster 3-2-0, Jaylee Schuster 6-1-2, Cassidy Knust 0-5-0, Lexi Jones 2-0-6. Totals: 38-9-11
Assists — Cattau 19, K. Schuster 14, Knust 3
Adams Central (kills-aces-blocks)
Hannah Gengenbach 1-0-0, Jessica Babcock 13-0-0, Elizabeth Anderson 0-1-0, Caitlyn Scott 19-0-1, Camille Wellensiek 7-0-1, Lauryn Scott 5-3-0, Morgan Burr 0-1-0, Chelsey Wiseman 0-0-0, Emma Estrada 1-1-0. Totals: 46-6-2
Assists — Wiseman 31, Anderson 10, Burr 1